Matt Hancock has broken his silence on leaked WhatsApp messages appearing to show Boris Johnson describing him as “totally f*****g hopeless”.

Last week, Dominic Cummings published a WhatsApp exchange in which the Prime Minister appeared to criticise the Health Secretary.

The Prime Minister’s former aide has blamed Mr Hancock for failings during the Covid response, published a screenshot apparently showing a WhatsApp exchange between himself and the Prime Minister.

Alongside the image of the apparent WhatsApp exchange with Boris Johnson, the Prime Minster’s former chief aide Dominic Cummings tweeted: “Evidence on the covid disaster: as the PM said himself, Hancock’s performance on testing, procurement, PPE, care homes etc was ‘totally f***ing hopeless’, & his account to MPs was fiction.”

According to the messages published, On March 3 last year, the controversial former aide highlighted the US’s ramping up of testing capacity and criticised Mr Hancock for saying he was “sceptical” about meeting a target.

The message had numerous typos and read: “US has gone from 2200 tests a fortnight ago to 27,000 a week ago to 100k yesterday. This is what we said we shd do. Instead we are still stuck on about 5-7K and MH saying today he’s ‘sceptical’ about getting to 10k by Monday which he said wd ‘definitely’ happen on Tuesday. This means tens of 1000s of NHS staff arent at work over next critical 3 weeks — apart from my earlier point re testign being integral to escape plan…”

The Prime Minister purportedly responded: “Totally f****** hopeless.”

Appearing on Monday morning’s instalment of BBC Breakfast, Mr Hancock was asked about how he felt about the leak from Cummings.

“Well, honestly, it feels like ancient history,” he said.

“The vaccine programme is a huge success. At times of stress, people say all sorts of things in private.

“What matters is how well you work together, and you’re referring to comments apparently from the Prime Minister. I work with the Prime Minister every single day, we work very strongly together… firstly to protect life, and secondly to get the country out of this, and that’s what matters.

“And, frankly, when you see 72 million vaccines having been done… I concentrate on the future because that’s what matters.”

Asked if it is embarrassing for his boss to have said those things, Mr Hancock said: “No, it isn’t really because of all the things we’ve delivered together, and you know we’re here talking about the success of that vaccine programme.

“Right now it’s something that I very much led from the department, working with the Prime Minister. He’s been a massive supporter of it throughout. And of course we’ve had obstacles and we’ve had people that we’ve had to deal with on the way.

“But what I can tell you is that the delivery of that programme has been absolutely fantastic, and if you look across other areas, whether it’s protecting the NHS and dealing with this backlog now that we’re talking about, or working on social care, we work incredibly closely together, and especially over the past six or seven months, especially after the autumn.”

Asked why Dominic Cummings has such a low opinion of him, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast: “I’m not really very interested. What I can tell you though is that the Government works far better, more recently, and that’s a good thing. And you can see it on the smiles of the faces of everybody who leads the vaccination programme.”

Asked whether there was a time when the pair got on, Mr Hancock said: “Yeah, I work with everybody who I need to work with to get stuff done, right?

“And that’s what you have to do, especially in a pandemic.”

He added: “I’m not going to get into the details of who said what, when, 18 months ago, because what matters and what I’m totally focused on is the future of how we get this country out of this pandemic, how we protect life.

“Those are the things that really matter.”