Matt Hancock told MPs of the death within his family as he concluded the six-hour debate on the new tier restrictions to be implemented in England from Wednesday to replace the national lockdown.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Hancock said: ‘We can afford to let up a little, we just can’t afford to let up a lot.
‘Let that be the message that goes out from this House.
‘We know through repeat experience what happens if this virus gets out of control.
‘If it gets out of control, it grows exponentially, hospitals comes under pressure, and people die.
‘This isn’t just speculation, it’s a fact that has affected thousands of families including my own.
‘We talk a lot of the outbreak in Liverpool and how that great city has had a terrible outbreak and got it under control.’
Mr Hancock’s voice cracked with emotion as he added: ‘This means more to me than I can say because last month my step-grandfather caught Covid there and on November 18 he died.
‘In my family, as in so many others, we’ve lost a loving husband, a father, a grandfather to this awful disease.
‘So from the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you to everyone in Liverpool for getting this awful virus under control.
‘It’s down by four-fifths in Liverpool, that’s what we can do if we work together in a spirit of common humanity. We’ve got to beat this, we’ve got to beat it together.’
Wise men talk because they have something to say,
fools talk because they have to say something.