Health Secretary Matt Hancock was fighting off a suspected bid to make him the “fall guy” for the Government’s mistakes during the coronavirus outbreak.?

The top minister has been facing pressure over the official response to the crisis - in particular the failure to get enough protective equipment to the NHS and social care frontline.

It comes amid Cabinet grumblings over being kept out of discussions on easing the coronavirus lockdown, with the key decisions made before Sunday's Cabinet meeting.?

Government insiders claimed that Mr Hancock was on “borrowed time” and that other ministers were “furious” about the PPE fiasco, according to reports.?

He is even said to have urged Boris Johnson to “give me a break” over ambitious plans to ramp up widespread testing to help the Government contain the epidemic.?

The Health Secretary is shouldering a lot of the blame for government mistakes

But allies of Mr Hancock, who has been one of the Government’s most public faces during the pandemic, dismissed claims of a big fall-out with No 10 as “ridiculous”.

One told the Mirror that the Health Secretary had more important issues to worry about.

“Whatever people decide to do with their time is up to them, but most people in Government are working extremely hard to fight a pandemic,” they said.

They claimed the meeting with the PM had taken place two weeks ago and Mr Johnson asked lots of questions about the Health Secretary’s 100,000-tests-a-day target.??

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“Matt said ‘give me a break, we’re getting it sorted’. It wasn’t a row or anything close,” they claimed.