British Health Secretary Matt Hancock stepped down from his post Saturday after a tabloid newspaper printed a photo of the embattled politician kissing an aide when the country was still under a strict lockdown.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock leaves 10 Downing Street after the daily coronavirus briefing on May … [+] 26, 2020 in London.

Getty Images

The tabloid says the photo is from early May, more than a week before the government began allowing people from different households to interact indoors in England.

Amid sharp criticism from some members of his own party, Hancock turned in his resignation as health secretary to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday, acknowledging that he’d broken some of the Covid-19 restrictions he helped draft.

Hancock said he “look[s] forward to supporting the government and the prime minister from the backbenches,” indicating that he plans to stay on as a Conservative member of Parliament despite resigning from Johnson’s cabinet.

“Those of us who make these rules have got to stick by them, and that’s why I’ve got to resign,” Hancock said in a video on Twitter.

The United Kingdom began slowly emerging from a set of stringent Covid-19 restrictions earlier this year, as vaccination rates ticked up and new infections remained low. Hancock has been a key part of the country’s coronavirus strategy for more than a year, but in recent weeks, Hancock has faced controversy after Johnson’s former top advisor Dominic Cummings accused him of bungling the government’s early response to Covid-19 and lying about testing protocols (Hancock denied the allegations). Last week, Cummings — who left the government in November after falling out of favor — released private text messages of Johnson calling Hancock “totally f***ing hopeless” in March 2020.

Cummings has also been accused of skirting the government’s coronavirus rules. Shortly after lockdowns and travel restrictions were first imposed last spring, Cummings drove 250 miles from London to the northern county of Durham while sick with Covid-19, later claiming he left the city to find childcare for his kid and to escape a possible security threat. Hancock defended Cummings’ decision at the time: “It was entirely right for Dom Cummings to find childcare for his toddler, when both he and his wife were getting ill,” he tweeted.

Source link



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store