MATT Hancock tonight resigned after humiliating and intimate footage of his romantic clinch with a senior aide in his office was published by The Sun.
The Health Secretary quit amid mounting pressure from colleaguesover images of him kissing and cuddling Gina Coladangelo in a clear breach of coronavirus restrictions.
Former Chancellor and Home Secretary Sajid Javid will replace Matt Hancock as Health Secretary, Downing Street has announced.
Hancock finally fell on his sword admitting he had “let down” the millions who had made painful personal sacrifices during the pandemic.
Support for the minister had been dwindling after it emerged he told his wife he was leaving her on Thursday shortly after he learned that his affair with married Coladangelo was about to be exposed.
Martha Hancock had no idea her husband was having an affair until he broke the news and announced that their marriage was over, reports the Times.
Observers were quick to point out that he does not specifically mention his wife in his resignation letter to the Prime Minister.
He wrote: “I am writing to resign as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. 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.
“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.
“The NHS is the best gift a nation has ever given itself, and the dedication and courage of the NHS staff and the ceaseless work of the officials in the Department is something we should all be proud of.”
A downbeat Hancock also said in a video posted to Twitter: “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.
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“I want to thank people for their incredible sacrifices and what they’ve done. Everybody working in the NHS, across social care. Everyone involved in the vaccine programme. And frankly everybody in this country who has risen to the challenges that we’ve seen over this past 18 months.
“I’m very proud of what we’ve done to protect the NHS and the peak, to deliver that vaccine rollout – one of the fastest in the world – and I look forward to supporting the government and the Prime Minister from the backbenches 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 – and I will do that with all of my heart.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “sorry” to receive Hancock’s resignation.
He said 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 Keir Starmer tweeted: “Matt Hancock is right to resign. But Boris Johnson should have sacked him.”
CCTV images showed Hancock passionately kissing his aide – with the dad-of-three shamelessly asking for “privacy on this personal matter” just hours later.
And he admitted he had “broken social distancing rules” after lecturing the country on coronavirus regulations throughout the pandemic.
He was recorded kissing her on May 6 – while hugging was still banned.
Just ten days later, the hypocritical politician warned the country we mustn’t cuddle our loved ones.
Ms Coladangelo, who has been a close friend of the former cabinet minister since their time at university, was appointed as a non-executive director at the Department of Health and Social Care last year.
She is the marketing and communications director at British retailer Oliver Bonas, which was founded by her husband Oliver Tress.
It was reported tonight she is now leaving her position on the board of the department of health.
She was initially taken on as an unpaid adviser in the DHSC on a six-month contract last year, before being appointed as a non-executive director at the department.
The role offers pay of £15,000 a year for 15-20 days of work and is described on the Government website as, in part, “to act in an independent manner bringing expertise, scrutiny and challenge”.
It is unclear whether Mrs Coladangelo has taken any pay, but a recent advert was posted for four positions before she was appointed in September 2020 which said Mr Hancock would determine their tenure, up to a period of three years.
Mr Hancock’s resignation came despite the PM yesterday refusing to fire the embattled Health Secretary saying the matter was closed.
MP Duncan Baker, who represents North Norfolk, then became the first serving Conservative to openly call for him to go.
He said: “In my view, people in high public office and great positions of responsibility should act with the appropriate morals and ethics that come with that role.