U.K Health Minister Quits After Tabloid Publishes Photo Of Him Lip-Locked With Aide In Breach Of 'Social Distancing' Rules

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U.K Health secretary Matt Hancock resigned on Saturday (Jun 26) after a photo of him lip-locked with a senior aide Gina Coladangelo in his Whitehall office, in breach of the Covid-19 social distancing guidelines he helped to create.

Hancock and Coladangelo had been friends since their time together at Oxford University and both are married with children.


Sajid Javid, a former chancellor and home secretary, will replace Hancock as the health secretary.

U.K Health secretary Matt Hancock resigned on Saturday (Jun 26) after a photo of him lip-locked with a senior aide Gina Coladangelo in his Whitehall office, in breach of the Covid-19 social distancing guidelines he helped to create, was published in a leading tabloid.

According to The Sun, the published photos were from 6 May. Under the government’s guidelines operational at that time, intimate contact with people outside your own household was not permitted.

Hancock had courted controversy last year when he appointed Coladangelo as non-executive director at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). Her DHSC role involved overseeing Hancock’s performance as secretary of state and that of the department.

Hancock and Coladangelo had been friends since their time together at Oxford University and both are married with children.

Hancock was also deemed to have committed a "minor breach" of the ministerial code when a coronavirus contract was awarded to his sister's company in which he had share holdings.

Hancock was holding shares in Topwood Ltd, a firm run by his sister and brother-in-law, which was approved as a potential supplier for NHS trusts in England.

In his resignation letter Hancock said: “We have worked so hard as a country to fight the pandemic. 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.”

In his letter he praised the “dedication and courage of the NHS staff” but failed to mention staff who work in social care.

Despite widespread criticism for his conduct, Hancock appeared to have earned a reprieve as PM Boris Johnson backed him initially. However Tory MPs, ministers and grassroots functionaries of Conservative party defied Boris Johnson and demanded he be dismissed from the government.

Responding to Mr Hancock's resignation, Prime Minister Johnson 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."

Sajid Javid, a former chancellor and home secretary, will replace Hancock as the health secretary. Javid had resigned as chancellor in February last year after a bitter fallout with PM Johnson. Javid resisted an order by Johnson's office to sack his aides and replace them with advisers chosen by PM.

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