UK Health Secretary: Matt Hancock Resigns

Published on 26 June 2021 at 18:28

Matt Hancock has resigned as Health Secretary after he was caught kissing a close aide in his Whitehall office in early May, in breach of coronavirus restrictions according to the Telegraph. 



In a letter to Boris Johnson, Mr Hancock said the Government "owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down".


He said: "The last thing I would want is for my private life to distract attention from the single-minded focus that is leading us out of this crisis.


"I want to reiterate my apology for breaking the guidance, and apologise to my family and loved ones for putting them through this.


"I also need to be with my children at this time."


His resignation comes amid multiple Tory MPs breaking ranks and calling for the Cabinet minister to step down.


Labour and the Liberal Democrats had demanded Mr Hancock's removal, saying the footage raised questions over whether there was a conflict of interest in the appointment of Ms Coladangelo, and whether social distancing rules had been broken. 


A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman had earlier rejected any impropriety, saying "This appointment was made in the usual way and followed correct procedure.


As questions over his future were growing, Mr Hancock pulled out of a planned constituency event and issued a written statement apologising for breaking COVID rules, but indicated he intended to continue in post.


"I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances. I have let people down and am very sorry. I remain focused on working to get the country out of this pandemic, and would be grateful for privacy for my family on this personal matter", he said.


Mr Hancock was appointed health secretary by then prime minister Theresa May in 2018. During the course of the pandemic he had been critical of those who broke COVID rules, including Professor Neil Ferguson - a senior epidemiologist who sat on the government's advisory panel, Sage. 


Sajid Javid, who is the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, has been appointed as the Health Secretary, replacing predecessor, Matt Hancock. He stepped down as Chancellor in February 2020 and since, has remained a backbench MP for the Conservative Party.


More to follow as the story breaks. 

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