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Matt Hancock makes grovelling apology to the public in resignation letter to the PM

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Matt Hancock has made a grovelling apology to the public in his resignation letter to the Prime Minister, the day after video footage emerged of him kissing an aide in his ministerial office in a breach of coronavirus restrictions.

In the letter to Boris Johnson, 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’.

Images and video showed Mr Hancock in an embrace with aide Gina Coladangelo last month, and the Health Secretary was facing increasing pressure to quit over the breaking of social-distancing rules and the hiring of Coladangelo.

‘I am writing to resign as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care,’ Hancock wrote, addressing Mr Johnson on Saturday.

‘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.’

Hancock, who is married with three children, apologised in the letter for ‘breaking the guidance’, and extended the apology to his ‘family and loved ones for putting them through this,’ writing that he needs to be with his children at this time. 

The now-former Health Secretary said the NHS was ‘the best gift a nation has ever given itself’ and praised it for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the ‘dedication and courage of the NHS staff’. He added that the ‘ceaseless work of the officials in the Department is something we should all be proud of’.

Matt Hancock wrote a letter of resignation (pictured above) to Boris Johnson where 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

Matt Hancock wrote a letter of resignation (pictured above) to Boris Johnson where 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

Mr Hancock also said in a video posted to Twitter: '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'

Mr Hancock also said in a video posted to Twitter: ‘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’

He admitted that during the coronavirus pandemic, ‘we didn’t get every decision right but I know people understand how hard it is to deal with the unknown, making the difficult trade-offs between freedom, prosperity and health that we have faced. 

‘I am so proud that Britain avoided the catastrophe of an overwhelmed NHS and that through foresight and brilliant science we have led the world in the vaccination effort, so we stand on the brink of a return to normality.’

According to official figures, the UK has reported over 128,000 deaths as a result of Covid-19, and over 4.7 million cases since the virus first rampaged through the country in March 2020, leading to multiple national lock downs.

Mr Hancock continued saying he was confident NHS reforms started under his tenure as Health Secretary ‘will ensure it continues to provide even better care for people in years to come.

‘We are building a better NHS which makes smarter use of technology and data, forming a new UK Health Security Agency, delivering positive changes to mental health care and will fix the problems in social care once and for all,’ he added.

Citing his reason for resigning, Hancock said that thanks he had given to ‘my own team, the NHS, the volunteers, the Armed Services, our pharmacists GPS, the pharmaceutical industry and the whole British public who have made such sacrifices to help others’ during the pandemic were heartfelt and sincere.

Therefore, he said, he had no choice but to resign. 

‘It has been the honour of my life to serve in your Cabinet as Secretary of State and I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved,’ he continued.

‘I will of course continue to support you in whatever way I can from the back benches, and I would like to thank you for your unwavering support, your leadership and your optimism, particularly as we worked together to overcome this awful disease,’ he said finally to the Prime Minister. 

As the 42-year-old hands in his resignation after being accused of having an affair with lobbyist Gina Coladangelo, wife of Oliver Bonas founder, triggering a series of calls for him to step down, namely from:

  • Duncan Baker, who became the first Conservative MP to go against the Prime Minister who backed Mr Hancock;
  • Mr Baker, MP for North Norfolk, said the Health Secretary ‘has fallen short’ of ‘appropriate morals and ethics’; 
  • Former Work and Pensions Secretary and MP for Tatton Esther McVey urged Hancock to step down too;
  • An unnamed supporter was due to be interviewed on BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme at around 7.20am; 
  • But they failed to turn up, with presenters forced to explain that he’s ‘not been answering his phone’;

Matt Hancock’s resignation letter in full

Dear Prime Minister

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 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. We didn’t get every decision right but I know people understand how hard it is to deal with the unknown, making the difficult trade-offs between freedom, prosperity and health that we have faced. I am so proud that Britain avoided the catastrophe of an overwhelmed NHS and that through foresight and brilliant science we have led the world in the vaccination effort, so we stand on the brink of a return to normality.

The reforms we have started in the health system will ensure it continues to provide even better care for people in years to come. We are building a better NHS which makes smarter use of technology and data, forming a new UK Health Security Agency, delivering positive changes to mental health care and will fix the problems in social care once and for all.

Many times I stood at the podium in Downing Street and thanked the team – my own team, the NHS, the volunteers, the Armed Services, our pharmacists GPS, the pharmaceutical industry and the whole British public who have made such sacrifices to help others. Those thanks are heartfelt and sincere and so I must resign.

It has been the honour of my life to serve in your Cabinet as Secretary of State and I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved. I will of course continue to support you in whatever way I can from the back benches, and I would like to thank you for your unwavering support, your leadership and your optimism, particularly as we worked together to overcome this awful disease.

MATT HANCOCK

 

An ally who was set to defend Matt Hancock on the radio failed to turn up and was 'not answering his phone' in fresh embarrassment for the beleaguered Health Secretary. Pictured: This is the image that has left Matt Hancock fighting for his job that appears to show him kissing his millionaire aide - who is on the public payroll - in May this year

An ally who was set to defend Matt Hancock on the radio failed to turn up and was ‘not answering his phone’ in fresh embarrassment for the beleaguered Health Secretary. Pictured: This is the image that has left Matt Hancock fighting for his job that appears to show him kissing his millionaire aide – who is on the public payroll – in May this year

In response to his resignation, 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.’ 

Mr Hancock also said in a video posted to Twitter: ‘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.

‘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.’

Tory MP Mr Baker, who was elected in 2019, told his local newspaper the Eastern Daily Press: ‘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.

‘Matt Hancock, on a number of measures, has fallen short of that. As an MP who is a devoted family man, married for 12 years with a wonderful wife and children, standards and integrity matter to me.

‘I will not in any shape condone this behaviour and I have in the strongest possible terms told the Government what I think.’

Labour chair Anneliese Dodds tweeted: ‘A Health Secretary who behaved like rules didn’t apply to him. 

‘A Prime Minister who didn’t have the guts to remove him. A government riddled with sleaze. Now Matt has gone, the Prime Minister must clean up this crony government.’ 

Esther McVey had earlier told GB News on the issue: ‘If it had been me, I would have resigned myself.

‘I am hoping Matt Hancock is thinking the same thing, that he doesn’t have to have to have it pushed upon him.

‘It will be viewed far more favourably if he comes forward and says: ‘reassessing it’, and that’s what I’d like to see.’

Tory MP Sir Christopher Chope told Radio 4’s PM programme that his local party association ‘felt that he was in breach of the ministerial code; that he was in breach of the lockdown regulations; that he is the person who has been passing the laws, signing off the regulations, requiring people to comply with restrictions upon their freedom – many of which people don’t agree with – but they’ve complied with out of respect for the rule of law.   

‘Most people will be questioning whether Matt Hancock has any position of authority.’ 

Matt Hancock: From student journalist to disgraced Health Secretary

Appointed Health Secretary in 2018 after spending 18 months in the culture brief, Matt Hancock has been a prominent figure for the Government during its handling of the coronavirus pandemic until his resignation on Saturday.

Mr Hancock, who in 2018 became the only MP in British politics to launch his own app, took only eight years to rise from West Suffolk MP to Health Secretary.

The former has made a big play of his varied life before entering politics.

The Oxford and Cambridge educated father-of-three previously worked as an economist at the Bank of England and as chief of staff to George Osborne when he was shadow chancellor of the Exchequer, before becoming an MP.

Mr Hancock, who is said to have met Ms Coladangelo at university, has been married to his wife Martha for 15 years and they have three children together.

Ms Coladangelo, the lobbyist and aide who Mr Hancock is claimed to have had an affair with, told a BBC Radio 4 profile on the politician that the pair met at the Oxford University student radio station, Oxygen FM, where she was a news reader and he a sports reporter.

The marketing and communications director at Oliver Bonas, a British retailer founded by her husband Oliver Tress, told the BBC about how Mr Hancock had ‘told a white lie’ to his radio news desk after failing to make it to cover an international rugby match.

She said: ‘He actually overslept and hot-footed it to the train but didn’t make it to Twickenham in time from Oxford, so had to get off the train at Reading, find a pub, watch the first half in a pub and then go to a phone box outside and report in.

‘So he told a white lie, pretended he was at Twickenham watching the rugby when in fact he was in a pub in Reading.’

The Cheshire-raised politician first attended cabinet after being appointed Minister for the Cabinet Office in 2015 by then prime minister David Cameron.

Mr Cameron’s successor Theresa May later promoted him to the role of culture secretary.

The 42-year-old initially threw his hat into the ring to replace Mrs May in No 10 during the 2019 Conservative Party leadership contest, but withdrew from the leadership race part way through and was quick to throw his weight behind Mr Johnson.

He was among the handful of ministers to retain his brief when Mr Johnson took power in July 2019, making him one of the most prominent ministers when coronavirus rocked Britain eight months later.

Mr Hancock said he is looking forward to ‘supporting the Government and the Prime Minister from the back benches to make sure that we can get out of this pandemic’ in his resignation video.



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