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A lawyer has apologized for an angry tirade on GB News after a moderator revealed he was asked to act for Matt Hancock over the leaking of thousands of his WhatsApp messages during the pandemic.
Jonathan Coad appeared on GB News on Sunday night as host Steve N Allen introduced the lawyer who had been asked by journalist Isabel Oakeshott to represent the former health secretary over the leak.
The solicitor was quick to express his anger at Mr Allen and revealed he was asked to act for Mr Hancock, saying: “I have made absolutely clear to your scheme, I have asked you not to disclose that.
“This is very, very bad journalism.”
Mr Coad added: “When your own TV network took up correspondence with me in which I stated that I was in a position to comment and mentioned that I had been approached by Matt Hancock, I asked you not to to mention that and you mentioned it.
“If someone is tempted to take you or your program seriously, here’s a good reason not to.”
Jonathan Coad accused Steve N Allen of “very bad journalism”.
However, after a fiery five-minute exchange, Mr Allen retrieved the email Mr Coad had sent to a GB News producer ahead of the interview – revealing the lawyer had missed a key word in his request.
The email read: “As a courtesy to the lady who has reached out to me to trade for her [Matt Hancock] I would be grateful if it were mentioned that he asked me to act for him (through his assistant).”
As the studio audience laughed in the background, Mr. Coad replied, “You’re absolutely right, it’s my fault for missing the ‘not’ – I take it all back. You are right and I am wrong.
“Fair dos, I’m absolutely wrong, sorry.”
Matt Hancock’s WhatsApp messages during the pandemic have been leaked
It comes after Ms Oakeshott, the co-author of the MP’s memoir, the Pandemic Diaries, which covered his time as Health Secretary, shared thousands of Mr Hancock’s WhatsApp messages with the Telegraph.
Mr Hancock has suggested Ms Oakeshott may have broken a confidentiality agreement and that he could take legal action.
She has defended disclosure for the past few days, insisting sharing the news is in the public interest. But Mr Hancock has said all the materials used to write his book have been made available to the official Covid-19 inquiry.
Ms Oakeshott said last week she would not be “swerved off course” by legal threats over the leak after she claimed Mr Hancock had sent her a “threatening” message in the early hours of the morning.
She told Good Morning Britain: “I really think this whole ominous message thing is a little over the top. I’m not scared or intimidated. At 1:20 am it was just, ‘You made a big mistake.’
“You can’t really interpret that as anything other than a threat.
“Since then he’s held out with further threats of legal action and whatnot, but I’m not worried about that. I don’t let that intimidate me or throw me off course. That is much more important than these considerations.”
A spokesman for Mr Hancock said: “As we have seen all week these stories are false as they are based on a totally incomplete account.
“In the case of vaccines, Matt pushed the goal of getting everyone vaccinated, often against systemic resistance. In the end, thank God, it prevailed and we got the world’s first vaccine, for everyone. Matt laid all of that out in his book.”