UK health minister resigns after breaching coronavirus rules
LONDON (AP) — U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has led the country's response to the coronavirus, resigned Saturday, a day after apologizing for breaching social distancing rules with an aide with whom he was allegedly having an affair.
Hancock had been under growing pressure since the tabloid Sun newspaper published images showing him and senior aide Gina Coladangelo kissing in an office at the Department of Health. The Sun said the closed circuit television images were taken May 6 — 11 days before lockdown rules were eased to allow hugs and other physical contact with people outside one’s own household.
In a resignation letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Hancock said the government owed it “to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down.”
“And those of us who make these rules have got to stick by them and that’s why I’ve got to resign," he wrote.
Johnson said he was sorry to receive Hancock’s resignation and that he “should leave office very proud of what you have achieved — not just in tackling the pandemic, but even before COVID-19 struck us."
Johnson had earlier expressed confidence in Hancock despite widespread calls to fire him.
Jonathan Ashworth, health spokesman for the opposition Labour Party, said “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?”
Some lawmakers from the governing Conservatives 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, who...