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UK Health Minister Matt Hancock, who was in office for three years and at the forefront of the government’s strategy against the coronavirus, resigned after a scandal that made headlines in recent days.
The source of the scandal was some photographs and a video published by the British newspaper The Sun showing Hancock with his assistant Gina Coladangelo (both married and with children) hugging and kissing within the Department of Health, supposedly on May 6.
The images caused outrage among both Conservative government and Labor opposition MPs, as well as the public, who demanded his head.
However, Hancock was forced to resign not because of his extramarital affairs with Mrs. Coladangelo, but, as BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg points out, because of “hypocrisy.”
The now former Minister of Health was one of the architects of the strict guidelines for business closure, trip cancellation, confinement and social distancing to control the pandemic.
But the man who essentially banned casual relationships for a year was caught disobeying the guidelines he himself helped establish, Kuenssberg wrote.
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen told the BBC that it was clear that a majority of the public had lost confidence in Matt Hancock.
“It wasn’t the relationship but the hypocrisy of being someone who makes the rules and then breaks them,” Bridgen said.
The situation has left Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a bad way, who supported Hancock and did not believe his resignation necessary despite the scandal.
However, Hancock presented a letter to Johnson in which he stated that “I must be honest with the people who have sacrificed so much during this pandemic when we have disappointed them.” He also apologized to his family and loved ones for “putting them through this.”
The prime minister said he “regretted” the resignation of the health minister and added that Hancock “should leave his post proud of what he has achieved – not only facing the pandemic, but before covid-19 hit us.
The leader of the Labor opposition, Keir Starmer, criticized the prime minister for having waited for his resignation instead of removing him.
Leaders of other parties echoed that calling Hancock’s legacy “failure” and questioning Boris Johnson’s leadership.
There have also been questions about the process by which Gina Coladangelo obtained her job at the Health Department, but a government spokesperson stated that the “correct procedures” had been followed.
Hancock and Coladangelo have known each other since their days at Oxford University.
Everything seems to indicate that the relationship between the two is serious and Hancock has ended his 15-year marriage to his wife, Martha.
Colandangelo will also be stepping down as a non-executive director of the Department of Health.
Sajid Javid, who has held several key positions within the Boris Johnson government, has been appointed the new Minister of Health.
In a message on Twitter, he said he was “honored” by the appointment “at this critical time.”
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.