Hancock quits as health secretary after breaching Covid guidance

Matt Hancock has resigned as health secretary after he breached social distancing guidance by kissing a colleague.

In a letter to the PM he said the government “owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down”.

Boris Johnson said he was “sorry” to receive the resignation.

It comes after pictures emerged of him with Gina Coladangelo, reportedly taken on 6 May.

Mr Hancock had been under increasing pressure to quit, after The Sun published pictures of Mr Hancock and Ms Coladangelo, who are both married with three children, kissing. The newspaper said they had been taken inside the Department of Health.

Fellows Tory MPs, as well as Labour and the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group, had called for the health secretary to be sacked.

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In a video posted on Twitter, Mr Hancock said: “I have been to see the prime minister to resign as secretary of state for health and social care.”I understand the enormous sacrifices that everybody in this country has made, that you have made, and those of us who make these rules have got to stick by them and that’s why I have got to resign.”

In his resignation letter, Mr Hancock reiterated his apology for “breaking the guidance” and he apologised.

“Matt Hancock is right to resign. But Boris Johnson should have sacked him.”


Hancock resignation letter


In response, the prime minister said Mr Hancock “should leave office very proud of what you have achieved – not just in tackling the pandemic, but even before Covid-19 struck us”.

He added: “I am grateful for your support and believe that your contribution to public service is far from over.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “Matt Hancock is right to resign. But Boris Johnson should have sacked him.”

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford tweeted: “Massive failure of leadership by Boris Johnson, Hancock should have been sacked.”

Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey tweeted that Mr Hancock’s legacy was one of “failure” and he said the fact that Mr Johnson “could just carry on regardless brings the prime minister’s judgement into question once again”.

Concerns had also been raised about the process which saw Ms Coladangelo appointed as a non-executive director of the Department of Health.

Ms Coladangelo – a friend of the health secretary since they worked on a student radio station at Oxford University – was appointed to the role – which comes with a £15,000 salary and involves 15 to 20 days of work per year – last September.

A No 10 spokesman has insisted the “correct procedure” had been followed but refused to go into detail.

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