Jun 26, 2021 - World

U.K. health secretary quits after breaking COVID rules by kissing aide

Picture of Matt Hancock
Matt Hancock. Photo: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Saturday resigned following outcry over photos showing him breaking the country's coronavirus regulations by kissing one of his aides.

Driving the news: The tabloid newspaper, The Sun, published images and video of Hancock kissing Gina Coladangelo, a senior aide. The newspaper said the photos were from May 6, two weeks before cross-household contact was allowed indoors in England.

  • "Initially Hancock tried to keep his job and [Prime Minister Boris Johnson] backed him on Friday, saying the matter was closed," Bloomberg writes.

Details: In a letter sent to Johnson, Hancock apologized "for breaking the guidance and apologize to my family and loved ones for putting them through this."

  • "We owe it to the 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," he added.

What they're saying: "I understand the enormous sacrifices that everybody in this country has made ... and those of us who make these rules have got to stick by them and that's why I've got to resign," Hancock said on Twitter.

  • "I'm very proud of what we've done to protect the [National Health Secretary] at 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," he added.

What's next: Sajid Javid, former chancellor and home secretary, will replace Hancock, the BBC reports.

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