Health Secretary Matt Hancock resigns after 'breaking guidance' on social distancing
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.
In a resignation letter to Prime Minister 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”.
The news comes after a video, which was released on Friday, June 25, appeared to show the Health Secretary kissing aide Gina Coladangelo.
Pictures published in The Sun newspaper also showed Mr Hancock in an embrace with Mrs Coladangelo last month.
The minister faced increasing pressure to quit over breaching social distancing guidance in place at the time.
Cracks began to show in Conservative support for Mr Hancock as MPs called for him to resign.
Mr Hancock wrote to Boris Johnson today, Saturday, June 26 and 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.”
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.”
He then paid tribute to NHS staff and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) officials and admitted that “we didn’t get every decision right”.
In response to Mr Hancock’s letter, 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.”
And he said: “Above all, it has been your task to deal with a challenge greater than that faced by any of your predecessors, and in fighting Covid you have risen to that challenge – with the abundant energy, intelligence, and determination that are your hallmark.”
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.