‘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 guidance,’ says Hancock
The announcement came amid growing clamour for Boris Johnson to remove him from the cabinet, or risk jeopardising vital public health messages as the government continues to respond to the crisis.
A key face of the government’s response to the pandemic who signed off the coronavirus regulations, Mr Hancock apologised on Friday for breaching the rules, after stills of a CCTV recording showed him in his Whitehall office embracing a longtime friend, who is on the government payroll.
Mr Johnson had stood by the beleaguered health secretary, しかしながら, with No 10 insisting they had full confidence him just over 24 hours ago, despite a growing backlash from across the political divide, including backbench Conservatives, who concluded his position was “untenable”.
But in an exchange of letters with the prime minister — released on Saturday evening — Mr Hancock announced his resignation and reiterated his apology for breaking the guidance, saying he owed it to the public to “be honest when we have let them down as I have done”.
He also apologised to his family “and loved ones for putting them through this”, as questions continued to mount over the recruitment of Gina Coladangelo — a friend of Mr Hancock’s from Oxford University — to the position of non-executive director at the Department of Health and Social Care.
A video published on Friday evening showed Mr Hancock and Ms Coladangelo kissing in his private Whitehall office, despite the cabinet minister repeatedly urging the public not to hug those they do not live with to control the spread of Covid-19.
“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,” Mr Hancock added in his correspondence with the prime minister.
In his response, Mr Johnson said he was “sorry” to receive Mr Hancock’s letter, 追加する: “You should leave office very proud of what you have achieved — not just in tackling the pandemic, but even before Covid-19 struck us”.
「何よりも, it has been your task to deal with a challenge greater than that faced by any of your predecessors, and in fighting Covid you have risen to that challenge — with the abundant energy, intelligence and determination that are your hallmark.”
Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth, who has shadowed Mr Hancock in the Commons during the pandemic, 前記: “It is right that Matt Hancock has resigned. But why didn’t Boris Johnson have the guts to sack him and why did he say the matter was closed?
“Boris Johnson has demonstrated that he has none of the leadership qualities required of a Prime Minister. Hancock’s replacement cannot carry on business as usual. On Hancock’s watch waiting times soared, care homes were left exposed to Covid and NHS staff were badly let down. Our NHS deserves much better.”