Coronavirus: Matt Hancock confuses Keighley and Kirklees

, Coronavirus: Matt Hancock confuses Keighley and KirkleesImage copyright
PA Media

Image caption

Matt Hancock claimed there had been an outbreak in Keighley rather than Kirklees

Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed there had been a coronavirus outbreak in the wrong part of Yorkshire after getting two areas mixed up.

The Conservative politician “made a mistake” when he said that there had been a spike in infections in Keighley.

Mr Hancock had “confused” the area with Kirklees where there was an outbreak at a meat factory earlier this month.

Bradford Council said it highlighted the mistake on social media, “just to calm everyone down a bit”.

The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed Mr Hancock meant to reference work that had taken place in Kirklees, rather than Keighley.

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Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Image caption

The Kober factory in Cleckheaton, in Kirklees, was temporarily closed

Mr Hancock made the error in TV and radio interviews while discussing the UK’s first full local lockdown in Leicester.

Speaking on the BBC Today show, the minister said: “I first set out at the Downing Street press conference that there was a local problem in Leicester last Friday and at the same time there was also a local problem in Keighley.”

He added: “Whilst working in Keighley we managed to get that spike under control.”

During an interview with BBC Breakfast, Mr Hancock also said: “We’ve had an outbreak in Keighley that we’ve dealt with by shutting a factory there.”

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that 165 staff working at a meat factory in Kirklees had tested positive for the virus.

The Kober factory in Cleckheaton – a supplier to Asda – was shut but has since reopened.

Analysis – Kevin Larkin, Political Reporter, BBC Radio Leeds

It’s the second time Matt Hancock has landed himself in hot water in West Yorkshire over the coronavirus.

A few weeks ago, he announced an outbreak in Kirklees in passing at one of the daily Downing Street conferences, something local MP Tracy Brabin said risked “inciting panic”.

Today, in multiple interviews, Matt Hancock referred to the same outbreak in Kirklees but moved it to Keighley – some 16 miles (26km) away.

Local council leaders have already been critical of central government for not allowing them to take full control of local coronavirus outbreaks.

Getting place names wrong won’t reassure them.

Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said Mr Hancock had “made a mistake”.

She said: “We’ve obviously had a lot of press calls this morning to deal with regarding this matter.

“We continue to work hard with the people of the district to protect Keighley and all the parts of the Bradford district from the infection spreading.”

In the replies to Bradford Council’s Twitter post, some users joked that Daniel Rashford was needed to clear up the situation, a reference to Mr Hancock getting Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford’s name wrong during an interview earlier this month.

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