Matt Hancock has resigned as health minister following images leaked in the press showing the married Conservative MP kissing and embracing a female aide, which he admitted was in breach of lockdown guidance.
In a video posted from his Twitter account on Sunday evening, Mr Hancock said: “I’ve 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’ve got to resign.”
He concluded: “I look forward to supporting the government and the prime minister from the back benches to make sure that we can get out of this pandemic — we’re so close to the end — and then Build Back Better so that this country can fulfil its potential, which is so great.”
Sajid Javid, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer and the former Home Secretary, was announced hours later as the new Health and Social Care Secretary.
On Friday, The Sun had published stills from CCTV footage that appeared to show Mr Hancock, a married father of three, in a passionate embrace with his aide Gina Coladangelo, a married mother of three, in his ministerial office.
Mr Hancock had apologised on Friday for breaching “social distancing guidance” — which at the time the footage was taken, the mixing of different households indoors was prohibited. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was sticking by his health secretary, and Hancock gave no indication he was going to quit.
However, Hancock came under pressure in recent days to resign, not least over allegations of “double standards”, given his department was the architect of many social distancing rules.
One MP has said before his resignation: “It just doesn’t sit right. I thought that the moment I heard about it. It’s not that we don’t make mistakes in our personal lives, but it’s very difficult if the minister telling people they can’t visit their grandparents or go to sports days is then found snogging his non-executive director in the office.
“It’s the sense of unfairness that makes it so bad. People can’t abide a double standard.”