Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the public had only heard “one side of the story” when asked about Mr Cummings’ bombshell evidence to MPs on Wednesday.
Mr Jenrick was pushed on Sky News on whether he would defend the Health Secretary and replied: “I think the Department for Health and the Health Secretary have worked exceptionally hard over the course of this pandemic.
“This was an unprecedented situation, it was a national effort involving all parts of government in all parts of the country.”
Asked whether he thought Matt Hancock had lied on multiple occasions, as alleged by Mr Cummings, Mr Jenrick added: “That’s not my experience.”
The Communities Secretary did admit “with the benefit of hindsight” they could have “done better to protect people in care homes”.
He added: “I don’t think anybody is disputing the fact that care homes are one of the most difficult elements of the last 12 months or so.
“But it’s not correct to say that we didn’t do everything we possibly could to protect both the residents and the people who work in care homes, with the imperfect information we had available to us at the time.”
In an interview with Politico, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss went further, saying the claims were “false,” and adding: “Matt Hancock is an excellent colleague who’s doing a very good job in what has been a very tough global pandemic.”
A spokesman for Hancock said: “At all times throughout this pandemic the Secretary of State for health and social care and everyone in DHSC [the Department for Health and Social Care] has worked incredibly hard in unprecedented circumstances to protect the NHS and save lives. We absolutely reject Mr. Cummings’ claims about the Health Secretary.”
Mr Hancock is to face MPs during an urgent question in the Commons on Thursday. He will also hold a 5pm press conference.