FACT CHECK: Is Matt Hancock About To Be Arrested?

A VIRAL conspiracy theory on social media reports that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, has been ‘charged with fraud’ and is due to be arrested on Monday.

The claim originated from a single source – Michael O’Bernicia – via his Facebook and Twitter accounts, and soon went viral after social media users opposed to the ongoing pandemic lockdown began rejoicing and sharing the ‘news’ across multiple platforms.

The claim mimics a debunked prediction posted by Qanon in 2017, that reported the imminent arrest of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and has since gained tens of thousands of views, with the above tweet being liked almost 2,000 times.

The hashtags ‘#ArrestMattHancock’ and simply ‘#ArrestHancock’ soon followed, along with further embellishments of the claim and viral YouTube videos that some supporters claim to have left them ‘in tears’ of joy.

Subsequent tweets and YouTube videos then began to claim that Hancock was due to be arrested this coming Monday.

In reality, the claim is a lie. Matt Hancock has not been arrested, nor is due to be. He has also not been ‘charged with fraud’.

Michael O’Bernicia – a largely unknown conspiracy theorist and opposer of the government’s lockdown, claimed that the ‘charges’ against Matt Hancock related to ‘failing to disclose to MPs that the fake government lurgy was reclassified as not being a Highly Contagious Infectious Disease, before they voted on the treacherous Coronavirus Act’.

Michael O’Bernicia

While many – rightly or wrongly – continue to question the data behind the government’s pandemic measures, Matt Hancock didn’t in fact need to ‘disclose’ such information, as it was already published on the government’s website and is an accepted fact already released to the public.

In the government update, published earlier this year – before any vote on the Coronavirus Act – Covid-19 was officially downgraded:

“COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious diseases (HCID) in the UK.

“The 4 nations public health HCID group made an interim recommendation in January 2020 to classify COVID-19 as an HCID. This was based on consideration of the UK HCID criteria about the virus and the disease with information available during the early stages of the outbreak. Now that more is known about COVID-19, the public health bodies in the UK have reviewed the most up to date information about COVID-19 against the UK HCID criteria. They have determined that several features have now changed; in particular, more information is available about mortality rates (low overall), and there is now greater clinical awareness and a specific and sensitive laboratory test, the availability of which continues to increase.

“The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) is also of the opinion that COVID-19 should no longer be classified as an HCID.”

Furthermore, the procedure for an MP caught intentionally hiding crucial information before a vote, that might have influenced the outcome of said vote, does not entail intervention from law enforcement, but rather an official inquiry by Parliament.

It is also crucial to note that the claim made by O’Bernicia was accompanied by no official legal challenge or document, and no records of such a lawsuit exist in online database checks.

The discredited conspiracy theorist has also recently been caught spreading other lies, including his claim that the government has confirmed that the Covid-19 vaccination will be ‘mandatory’, and that ‘FOI requests confirm the government lurgy has never been proven to exist’.

O’Bernicia has since gone quiet on social media, yet has posted a few messages attempting to attack followers who are beginning to question his claims and point out his many lies.

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