UK health secretary quits in wake of scandal

Virus Outbreak Britain Variant
Posted at 5:08 PM, Jun 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-26 17:12:12-04

LONDON — U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has resigned after breaking social distancing rules with an aide he was allegedly having an affair with.

The tabloid Sun newspaper had run images appearing to show the married Hancock and senior aide Gina Coladangelo kissing in an office at the Department of Health.

Hancock said in his letter of resignation to Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the government owes “it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down.”

Johnson had been facing widespread calls to fire Hancock, who had apologized for breaching social distancing rules. Coladangelo is a friend of Hancock’s from their days together at Oxford University and was appointed to his department last year.

Britain Health Secretary
FILE - In this Thursday, May 27, 2021 file photo, Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaks during a coronavirus media briefing in Downing Street in London. Britain’s health minister has resigned as Health Secretary in a letter to Boris Johnson, released Saturday June 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool, File)

The Sun late Friday also published a video of the embrace, which had prompted the main opposition Labour Party to deem his position “hopelessly untenable.” Some Conservative lawmakers had also called on Hancock to quit because he wasn’t practicing what he has been preaching during 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 said in his letter of resignation.

“I want to reiterate my apology for breaking the guidance, and apologize to my family and loved ones for putting them through this,” he said. “I also need (to) be with my children at this time.”

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