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UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock resigns after images show him kissing aide

U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock resigned on Saturday after images of him kissing an aide turned public — and he subsequently apologized for the steamy breach of the nation’s social distancing pointers.

“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 mentioned in his letter of resignation to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The Sun had printed images of the married Cabinet minister in an embrace with senior aide Gina Coladangelo in an office within the authorities’s Department of Health. The outlet mentioned the images have been taken in early May earlier than the nation’s strict laws have been loosened to permit hugs with members of the family.

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

The Times of London reported that Hancock, after being informed by The Sun that the outlet had obtained the footage, raced dwelling on Thursday night to inform his spouse Martha of the affair and that their marriage was over earlier than the information broke.

Hancock reportedly informed his spouse, who had beforehand believed their marriage to be “happy and stable” and even awakened their youngest little one, who’s 8, to interrupt the information that he was leaving.

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Hancock is considered one of a lot of British politicians who, much like a few of their American counterparts, have been accused of breaching the principles on COVID-19 that they’ve themselves both set or supported. It has additionally raised questions on how Coladangelo, a college buddy of Hancock’s who can also be married, was appointed.

Hancock’s position as the purpose particular person for the U.Ok. authorities’s dealing with of the COVID-pandemic had already been unsure after it was revealed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had known as him “totally f—ing hopeless” in texts to aide Dominic Cummings.

May 27, 2021: Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaks throughout a coronavirus media briefing in Downing Street in London.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool, File)

Cummings, a former senior adviser to Johnson who had confronted his personal controversy about adherence to pointers, had accused Hancock of botching the federal government’s response to the pandemic. Hancock was subsequently requested by journalists if he was “hopeless,” to which he replied, “I don’t think so.”

He had additionally been topic to mockery on a lot of events, in particular a TV appearance the place he was accused of faux crying as he wiped his apparently dry eyes as he mentioned the nation’s first vaccine rollout.

His conduct had additionally drawn remark from Queen Elizabeth II who, in a dialog with Johnson, mentioned she had just lately spoken to Hancock.

“I’ve just been talking to your secretary of state for health, poor man, he came to the Privy Council,” she said. “He’s full of er….”

“Full of beans,” interjected Johnson.

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“Yes,” Her Majesty replied. “He says things are getting better.”

The controversy over Hancock appears unlikely to die down with the secretary’s resignation.

 Labour chief Keir Starmer instantly turned his consideration to Johnson’s dealing with of the matter – significantly his preliminary assist of the embattled minister.

“Matt Hancock is right to resign,” he tweeted. “But Boris Johnson should have sacked him.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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