Matt Hancock has resigned as the health secretary of the United Kingdom, news agencies reported on Sunday, 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. Sajid Javid, former chancellor of the exchequer, was named as Hancock’s replacement, news agency Bloomberg reported.
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. He 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, reported The Guardian, adding that an anxious health sector is keeping a close watch on this transition.
Matt Hancock, in his resignation letter to UK prime minister Boris Johnson a day prior, mentioned that the government owes “it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down.” Notably, Johnson was under mounting pressure on Saturday to fire his health secretary after the admission that he broke Covid-19 guidelines by kissing the employee sparked accusations of blatant hypocrisy.
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“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 wrote, taking responsibility for the current situation. “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,” he said.
British tabloids ‘The Sun’ has released photos and videos of the minister in an embrace and kissing his aide in an office at the Department of Health, evoking demands of resignation from the opposition Labour Party which termed his position “hopelessly untenable”.