The health minister told cabinet members he could not guarantee there would be no deaths if Britain exits the European Union (EU) without a deal, The Times newspaper has reported.
Matt Hancock made the comments during a five-hour cabinet meeting discussing the Brexit deal negotiated with the EU by Prime Minister Theresa May, according to the newspaper.
After being probed on this on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Mr Hancock did not deny he had made the remarks, although he did not confirm that crashing out of the EU without a deal could lead to deaths.
He added: ‘No deal is not pretty... we need to make sure everyone does what's necessary to have the unhindered flow of medicines that people need.’
Could a Brexit no deal endanger lives? Health sec @MattHancock says “no deal is not pretty... we need to make sure everyone does what's necessary to have the unhindered flow of medicines that people need" https://t.co/vzluNbtBgm pic.twitter.com/KPH14RDfog
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) 15 November 2018
A No. 10 spokesperson told The Pharmacist they were unable to comment on discussions in cabinet meetings.
Understandably, the alleged comments have alarmed the public.
— Roy Lilley (@RoyLilley) 15 November 2018
Blimey, this from @SamCoatesTimes on the cabinet meeting to approve the draft #Brexit agreement “Others concentrated on no-deal consequences. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, told the room that he could not guarantee people would not die as a result of a no-deal Brexit.”
— Rupert Carey (@Roop1) 15 November 2018
On Today, Matt Hancock does not rule out that he told cabinet that in event of no deal people could die due to lack of medicines. It's clear that if "No deal is better than a bad deal" ever was meant seriously by the government, it's not the case any more.
— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) 15 November 2018
Heard Matt Hancock on @r4Today refusing to rule out that people could die!
— Judith H #FBPE (@judithh2478) 15 November 2018