| 17.5°C Dublin

fell on sword Matt Hancock quits as UK Health Secretary after being caught on CCTV kissing an aide

Mr Hancock wrote to the Prime Minister to tender his resignation.

Close

Matt Hancock with Gina Coladangelo (Yui Mok/PA)

Matt Hancock with Gina Coladangelo (Yui Mok/PA)

Matt Hancock with Gina Coladangelo (Yui Mok/PA)

Matt Hancock has resigned as Health Secretary the day after video footage emerged of him kissing an aide in his ministerial office in a breach of coronavirus restrictions.

Images and video showed Mr Hancock in an embrace with aide Gina Coladangelo last month, and the Health Secretary was facing increasing pressure to quit over the breaking of social-distancing rules.

Mr Hancock wrote to Boris Johnson on Saturday and said: “The last thing I would want is for my private life to distract attention from the single-minded focus that is leading up out of this crisis.”

He said: “We owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down as I have done by breaching the guidance.”

In response, the Prime Minister wrote: “You should leave office very proud of what you have achieved – not just in tackling the pandemic, but even before Covid-19 struck us.”

Mr Johnson had refused to sack Mr Hancock, with his spokesman saying the PM considered the matter closed after receiving the West Suffolk MP’s apology on Friday.

Earlier, Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds said: “His position is hopelessly untenable. Boris Johnson should sack him.”

Liberal Democrat spokesman for health and social care, Munira Wilson, added: “This latest episode of hypocrisy will break the trust with the British public. He was telling families not to hug loved ones, while doing whatever he liked in the workplace.”

While the SNP’s Westminster deputy leader, Kirsten Oswald, said: “Boris Johnson risks jeopardising the vital public health measures in place the longer he desperately clings on to his shamed Health Secretary – just like he did with Dominic Cummings.”

Mr Hancock had said he was “very sorry” for letting people down after The Sun first reported he was having an extramarital affair, and asked for privacy for him and his family.

A snap poll from Savanta ComRes, released hours after photographs of the embrace surfaced, found 58% of UK adults thought that Mr Hancock should resign, compared with 25% who thought he should not.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Covid-19 Bereaved Families For Justice group, which represents those who have lost loved ones in the pandemic, said it had broken its “position of neutrality on ministerial conduct” to urge Mr Johnson to relieve Mr Hancock of his job.

In a statement, Mr Hancock said: “I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances, I have let people down and am very sorry.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

“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.”

A Downing Street spokesman said Mr Johnson had accepted Mr Hancock’s apology and “considers the matter closed”.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy