Sajid Javid new UK health secy after Hancock resigns over affair
Matt Hancock with his aide.
Sajid Javid, who has previously served two terms in the UK cabinet -- first as the chancellor of the exchequer and later as the home secretary -- walked back into the office of state on Saturday, this time as the health minister.
Matt Hancock has resigned as the health secretary of the United Kingdom after a massive public outcry over controversial photographs which exposed the British health minister kissing and embracing his top aide in office, flouting all coronavirus disease (Covid-19)-related protocols that he himself swore to uphold.
File photo of Sajid Javid.
Sajid Javid now holds the prime responsibility of taking on the reigns of the country's medical infrastructure amid what is arguably the toughest of recent medical crises -- the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only does Javid have to steer the United Kingdom out of what will hopefully be the final stages of the pandemic, but he will also need to catch up on a vast backlog of ministry operations.
In a letter to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock said the government "owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down" and reiterated his previous apology for breaking the government guidance on social distancing from people outside a close household bubble.
In a video posted on Twitter, Hancock said: "I have 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 have got to resign."
It comes after leaked CCTV images showed the 42-year-old married Conservative Party MP kissing Gina Coladangelo, 43, in his Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) office. Coladangelo is an old friend and colleague of Hancock.
The images, published by The Sun newspaper on Friday, dated from 6 May before the social distancing rules were eased around close contact indoors for people from separate households on 17 May.
In his letter of resignation, Hancock said: "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 (to) be with my children at this time."
It follows mounting pressure on him from the Opposition as well as within his own Tory party to resign for undermining public trust in the COVID lockdown guidance.
The minister, so far in charge of the country's health response to the pandemic, praised the National Health Service (NHS) for the ceaseless work in fighting the deadly virus.
"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," he said.
"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," he added.
I hope your kids and wife never forget or forgive you. pic.twitter.com/HyXTPFjcK3— 🇦🇫🏴🇬🇧 کیرن رایټی (@merchanttroll) June 26, 2021
It came as campaign group " COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice" described Boris Johnson's backing of Hancock by accepting his apology and declaring the "matter closed" on Friday as a "slap in the face" for families who had lost loved ones to the virus.
Matt Hancock's wife Martha.
Hancock is married to osteopath wife Martha for 15 years and they have three children together. The pictures in The Sun appeared to show evidence of an extra-marital affair with married Gina Coladangelo, who is listed on the DHSC website as a non-executive director. The pair are said to have been close since their student days at Oxford University.
Hancock was appointed health secretary by former British Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018 and has held the post for nearly three years.