The ex-health secretary said: “Joe Anderson – unfortunately, no longer with us – he was incredibly supportive.
“And we ended up in Liverpool having a package of measures that was effective after a very constructive negotiation.”
Mr Anderson, who was the city’s mayor from 2012 until December 2021, responded on social media: “Just took my pulse and I seem to still be here and I feel ok.”
Some quoted the sentence often attributed to Mark Twain: “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
Mr Hancock had been telling the inquiry about how he worked with the then-mayor over the coronavirus lockdown tier system.
The ex-minister was giving evidence about the government’s response to Covid and ministers’ decisions.
He acknowledged his affair with top aide Gina Coladangelo during the pandemic damaged public confidence in complying with Covid rules.
He also suggested then-chancellor Rishi Sunak would have put “enormous pressure” on Boris Johnson not to have a second lockdown.
Accusing ex-SNP boss Nicola Sturgeon of communicating with the public in an “unhelpful and confusing” way, the ex-health secretary claimed other regional leaders had “put politics ahead of public health”.
Mr Hancock has been forced to deny being a liar – a charge levelled at him at various stages of the inquiry.
But it’s believed his blunder over Mr Anderson’s mortality status was merely a misunderstanding.