"The worst thing is if you don't vaccinate your child and you can, then the person you are putting at risk is not only just your own child, but it's also the child that can't be vaccinated for medical reasons. Maybe they have cancer and their immune system is too weak. I don't want the debate to put people off because there is absolute clarity on what the science says and what the right thing is to do."
All of which sounds reasonable(ish). However, this is the same Matthew Hancock who went out of his way to team up with Oliver Letwin in December 2014 and pressure Jo Swinson into delaying safety changes to the Furniture Regulations. At that time, Swinson was the Minister for the Regulations; Hancock was Minister for State for Business and Enterprise, and Letwin was Minister for Policy at the Cabinet Office. As I've detailed elsewhere on this site, Letwin made contact with me several times regarding the failing Furniture Regulations. He professed a desire to ensure that the changes we'd proposed went ahead, thereby making furniture less chemically toxic and fire-safe. He even had a half hour phone call with me at one point in which he promised to encourage the Permanent Secretary at BIS to get the changes in asap. I don't know if he ever contacted the Perm Sec but I do know that soon after this he ganged up with Hancock to ensure that the very opposite happened, i.e. that the Regs remained unchanged.
Swinson had been conflicted. She'd expressed to her civil servants a strong desire to put safety first where the Regulations were concerned. But my managers kept telling her that more work needed to be done first (it didn't). I suspect she was also getting similar views from coalition Tory ministers too. At one point, she asked me to write a paper explaining exactly why the current match test in the Regulations fails and why the new one would succeed. I wrote it and got feed-back that she was really pleased with it; that it explained everything clearly and convincingly. She asked me to answer some further questions, which I did but never heard back from her. Very shortly afterwards, she had that meeting with Letwin and Hancock in which she agreed with them to delay bringing in the changes. (She does of course know that the changes are still being blocked and I wonder if she's made sure that any mattress her new child sleeps on does not contain flame retardants, to hell with the expense; if so, then all that work we did to get rid of them, and which she signed off, will at least have benefited her family, if hardly anyone else's.)
What Hancock says about vaccinations - that "there is absolute clarity on what the science says and what the right thing to do is" – is true of the Furniture Regulations. The science has proved they don't work and the right thing to do is to change them so that they do. Yet while Hancock wants to pursue the science where vaccinations are concerned, he has gone in the opposite direction with the Furniture Regulations.
I wonder why? What common denominators might be at play? Well, the obvious one is money. Vaccinations make billions for Big Pharma; compulsory vaccinating will make them even more. The current unchanged Furniture Regulations make Big Chem many millions too. Another common denominator is that in both scenarios UK children get pumped full of chemicals. Where one lot is concerned, Hancock believes they'll do children a lot of good. He hasn't said what he believes all those flame retardants in children's blood will do, even those still in our sofas and mattresses that have since been banned because they're so toxic.
By the way, Letwin showed his true colours after this incident. As Chair of the Red Tape Initiative, which also includes Greg Clarke, Secretary of State for the Department for Business, he attended a meeting on the very day Grenfell Tower was burning, the objective of which was to identify building rules that could be cut: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/05/grenfell-fire-public-inquiry-stitch-up-red-tape-regulation-policy-exchange
This was unfortunate timing, of course. It was also contradictory to his past actions. Back in 2012/13, he'd taken a lead role in the government's Red Tape Challenge and wanted to cut the Furniture Regulations as a de-regulatory measure. He changed his mind at the last minute but never said why. For a while, I thought it was simply a desire to keep the public safe, since at that time we still believed the Regulations worked, even if it went against his de-regulation agenda. Silly me. Cutting the Furniture Regulations would have cost industry billions. So, even when we'd proved to Swinson, Hancock and Letwin that the Regulations were not providing fire safety, they still opted to protect industry profits.
I do not know how effective vaccinations are but I do know you cannot trust anything that Matthew Hancock says. Or Oliver Letwin; or James Brokenshire; or Sajid Javid; or Kit Malthouse, since they have all in different ways made sure that the Furniture Regulations remain unfit for purpose and in the process continue making a fortune for industry and its supporters.