(London) His stance has become unacceptable: Britain’s health minister, Matt Hancock, at the center of government action against the pandemic, resigned on Saturday for violating anti-COVID-19 restrictions during a relationship with an adviser, and it was all over the media.
Downing Street has announced that Sajid Javid, 51, the former finance minister to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is replacing him. And so he returned to the government after closing the door in early 2020, dissatisfied with the terms imposed in the exercise of his portfolio.
The former banker and son of a former Pakistani bus driver was the first member of an ethnic minority to head the Home Office under Theresa May’s former Conservative government.
The change comes at a critical time for the UK, which has lost more than 128,000 deaths and faces an outbreak of contamination from the coronavirus attributed to a highly contagious delta variant. The country is in a race against time to vaccinate as many people as possible with the goal of lifting the latest restrictions still in place in July.
“We owe it to ourselves to be honest with the people who have sacrificed so much during this pandemic, when we let them down like you did when you violated the guidelines,” Matt Hancock, 42, wrote in his resignation letter. To Boris Johnson, repeating his apology.
Boris Johnson, who initially supported the health minister in office for three years, said he was “sorry” for his resignation. He replied, “You should leave your position very proud of what you have achieved, not only in tackling the pandemic but also before COVID-19 hits us.”
The Sun on Friday published a CCTV image showing Matt Hancock, married and father of three, kissing Gina Coladangelo, an old friend whose undisclosed appointment has already been controversial, in his office on May 6, at the time. When braces are blocked.
Acknowledging the violation of the rules, the person who regularly called on the British to respect them apologized, and the head of government confirmed his confidence in him, considering the matter “closed”.
But the sun hit her head on Saturday, posting a video from the CCTV on her website.
In the face of this issue, which was reported by all the media, calls for resignation multiplied, both in the opposition and in the conservative camp in power. Finally, they overcame the minister accused of hypocrisy.
Matt Hancock is right to resign. But Boris Johnson should have fired him,” replied Keir Starmer, leader of the Labor Party, the main opposition formation, on Twitter.
Conflict of interest?
Labor has also questioned the potential for a conflict of interest in appointing Gina Coladangelo to the department, a lobbyist Matt Hancock knows from college and who currently heads the communications of a chain of stores founded by her husband. This date was not announced before the press revealed it.
Prior to this case, there were other embarrassing accusations targeting Matt Hancock, who has stood out in Britain during the pandemic and regularly hosts daily government press conferences during the height of the first wave.
At a parliamentary hearing in May, former Prime Minister Dominic Cummings accused him of “lying” multiple times and ruling that he should have been “sacked”. In mid-June, he claimed, to back up a screenshot, that Boris Johnson called Mr Hancock a “ridiculous man” in his management of the pandemic.
It was also heavily criticized for the lack of protective equipment for caregivers at the start of the crisis or, later, for the ambiguity surrounding the award of some public contracts.
A graduate of the prestigious Oxford and Cambridge Universities, the 40-year-old was first elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament in 2010.
This great cricketer, former Bank of England economist, first entered government in 2012, where he held various positions.