independent.ie- Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock has resigned after he admitted breaking Covid-19 guidance by kissing and embracing an aide in his office, angering colleagues and the public during lockdown.
The 42-year-old wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign after The Sun newspaper published photos of the married minister embracing a woman who he had appointed to a taxpayer-funded role to scrutinise the performance of his department.
Hancock has been at the centre of the government’s fight against the pandemic, routinely appearing on the television and radio to tell people to follow the strict rules to contain the virus.
“We have worked so hard as a country to fight the pandemic,” Hancock said in the letter. “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.”
Johnson said in reply that he was sorry to receive it.
“You should be immensely proud of your service,” he wrote. “I am grateful for your support and believe that your contribution to public service is far from over.”
The Sun showed Hancock kissing the aide in his office last month, at a time when it was against the rules for people to have intimate contact with a person outside their household.
Mr 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”.
“Those of us who make these rules have got to stick by them – and that’s why I’ve got to resign,” Mr Hancock said in a video posted to his personal Twitter page.
In a tweet, Labour leader Keir Starmer said: “Matt Hancock is right to resign. But Boris Johnson should have sacked him.”