Jacob Rees-Mogg has claimed that delays in the government’s coronavirus testing programme are “actually a government success”.
The Tory MP and leader of the House of Commons was asked on Tuesday about claims the government was failing to deliver enough tests to prevent the disease from spreading.
Rees-Mogg said he believed the testing scheme was going “as well as could possibly be expected”.
"The testing issue is actually a government success," Rees-Mogg told BBC News.
“If you think of the numbers that are being tested from a standing start earlier in the year, hundreds of thousands of people are being tested.
“It’s right that people should get tests when they need them, when they have symptoms,” he added, “One of my children had the test last week, we got the result back, and I got back to business.
"So I think it's going as well as could possibly be expected, considering the demand."
Matt Hancock told MPs on Tuesday that suspected coronavirus patients with acute medical needs and people in care homes will be prioritised under plans to ration coronavirus tests.
The health secretary acknowledged that there were "operational challenges" in the testing system as he was summoned to answer an urgent question on the situation in the Commons.
Hancock said an updated prioritisation list would be published setting out who will be at the front of the queue for tests.
"We have seen a sharp rise in people coming forward for a test, including those who are not eligible," Hancock said.
"Throughout this pandemic, we have prioritised testing according to need. Over the summer, when demand was low, we were able to meet all requirements for testing, whether priorities or not.
Watch: Covid-19 tests re-prioritised by Health Secretary
"But as demand has risen, so we are having to prioritise once again and I do not shirk from decisions about prioritisation. They are not always comfortable, but they are important."
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said Hancock was "losing control of this virus".
There have been widespread complaints that tests are unavailable, people are waiting more than 24 hours for results or are being forced to travel large distances to get a test.
But Hancock told MPs that the average distance travelled to a test site is now 5.8 miles, down from 6.4 miles last week.
Downing Street also denied reports that tests are not available in the worst-hit parts of England.
A No 10 spokesman said: "We would say that it is wrong to say that testing is not available in these areas.
"Our capacity continues to be targeted to where it is most needed, which is why booking slots and home testing kits are made available daily for people with symptoms."