A FURIOUS Boris Johnson "lost his rag" over the prospect of Scotland introducing vaccine passports, according to Matt Hancock.

The former UK health secretary has revealed in a new book published today that the former Prime Minister thought First Minister Nicola Sturgeon would bring in the documents to advance the drive for independence by using them to "drive a wedge" between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

In his "Pandemic Diaries: The inside story of Britain’s battle against Covid", published today, he repeatedly attacks the First Minister and says he was pleased when his colleague Michael Gove was given the job of liaising with her by Boris Johnson.

An entry dated April 21, 2021 recounts an incident when a highly rattled PM sent Mr Hancock a Whatsapp message in block capitals to say: "We must not let the Scots have their own vaccine passports."

READ MORE: Sturgeon yearned for travel ban with UK during Covid, says Hancock

He writes: "Boris has completely lost his rag over Scotland. He’s got it into his head that Nicola Sturgeon is going to use vaccine passports to drive a wedge between Scotland and the rest of the UK and is harrumphing around his bunker firing off WhatsApps like a nervous second lieutenant in a skirmish. 

"There I was, just for one small moment enjoying the satisfaction of knowing that we’ve hit all our big vaccine targets, when KAPOW! The first round hit my inbox.

Mr Hancock adds: "There was a weird gap in his messages, as if he had jabbed the ‘return’ key a few times, before the all-caps message continued: ‘STOP THIS MADNESS NOW.’

"For a moment, I imagined him tramping around Parliament Square brandishing a placard with a crossed-out SNP logo. But no: he was not about to march on Downing Street, he was already in it, trying to heave the great government machine in the direction he wanted using one finger and an iPhone.

"He’s completely right: Sturgeon has tried to use the pandemic to further her separatist agenda at every turn. Because the law says that health measures are devolved, the Scottish government can decide on health matters – and Boris has been subjected to Sturgeon playing politics with this throughout the pandemic. 

"But borders are very much a UK responsibility, and the idea of separatists being responsible for borders is dangerous. Now the Scottish government is working on its own system of vaccine certification, which might or might not link up with what’s being developed for the rest of the UK. 

"While the Welsh and Northern Irish are being pragmatic, the SNP are playing this entirely for the politics. They put everything – everything – subservient to their destructive separatist goal. It’s derisory, but we have to deal with it."

He continues: "Before I’d had a chance to explain how the SNP were using the devolution settlement to further their agenda and work out how to break this to the PM, he’d clearly found out himself.

"Cue another volley of bullets from the bunker. ‘Just spoken to NHSX and Cabinet Office re. vaccine passports,’ he announced. ‘They are proceeding on an England-only basis and relying on the goodwill of the Scottish government. Imbeciles.’

"He continued to rant, fretting that the whole thing would ‘seriously undermine the UK’ and exhorting me to do whatever it takes to solve the problem. ‘We must fix this with extreme force,’ he urged.

"By now I was beginning to feel quite alarmed. What kind of force did he have in mind? Had Ben Wallace been informed?

"While he was stomping about, Dan Rosenfield and I tried to work out what to do. ‘Needs fixing. PM will go apeshit if not UK-wide,’ Dan said, as if I hadn’t got the message.

"The PM said we need to be ‘thinking DVLA style for both international travel and free movement of UK citizens around the UK’.

"Well, yes. I obviously agree. The absurdity of different border policies for different parts of the same country has been a problem for months and obviously needs sorting out after the pandemic. But without changing the law now, turning this into a row will only further Sturgeon’s destructive agenda."

Mr Hancock has recently come under fire for appearing on on the ITV programme I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here.

The Conservative whip was removed from the MP when he appeared on the show.
As health secretary he presided over the response in England to the Covid pandemic.

He resigned from his role in June 2021 after breaking the Covid guidelines he helped draw up after photographs of him kissing his aide Gina Coladangelo during an extramarital affair.

The MP stepped down as health secretary a day after the images emerged of him embracing Ms Coladangelo in what appeared to be CCTV footage from inside the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

After his breach of his own rules was captured on camera came to light, Mr Hancock announced in a video shared on Twitter that he would step down, saying: “Those of us who make these rules have got to stick by them and that’s why I’ve got to resign.”

Extracts of his book have been serialised in the Daily Mail and include his claim that the First Minister's decision on masks being introduced in secondary schools forced the UK Government to reverse its policy on not requiring pupils to use them. 

Addressing his earlier claims, a SNP spokesman said: “Matt Hancock had little credibility even before he lost the last shreds of it in the jungle. These claims are more about selling books than revealing anything meaningful.”

In October 2020 support for Scottish independence rose to 58 per cent as the First Minister was regarded by voters as handling the pandemic better than Johnson and his government.

A spokesman for the First Minister dismissed Mr Hancock's claims.

He said: “These so-called diaries bear little, if any, relation to reality when it comes to the First Minister’s role. For example, and as a point of fact, there were no Cobra meetings involving the FM in July 2020 as is suggested.”