Britain’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has quit his job, a day after he apologized for breaching Covid regulations.
“I’ve been to see the Prime Minister to resign as Secretary of State for Health and Social care… 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 posted on his Twitter page.
“I’m very proud of what we’ve done to protect the NHS at the peak, to deliver that vaccine rollout — one of the fastest in the world — and I look forward to supporting the government and the Prime Minister from the backbenches,” he added.
Hancock also wrote a letter of apology to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, stating, “I want to reiterate my apology for breaking the guidance and apologize to my family and loved ones for putting them through this.”
The 42-year-old politician had faced overwhelming criticisms for months over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK. He was also accused of awarding contract to a former neighbor for Covid-19 test kits.
Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings, who quit his post in November 2020, also accused Hancock of botching the country’s coronavirus testing program, as well as lying about the dire situation in care homes and the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). Hancock denied the claims.
Criticisms against Hancock even drew the attention of the Queen, who alluded to the health secretary’s woes on Wednesday in her first in-person audience with the prime minister in 15 months. She informed Boris Johnson that she had been speaking to “your secretary of state for health, poor man.”
Hancock had been under intense pressure for a long time, but barely managed to cling onto his position until he finally resigned on Saturday June 26. He will be replaced by the former Chancellor and Home Secretary Sajid Javid, according to a statement from Downing Street.
Britain currently has the highest death toll from the coronavirus in Europe, with 128,000 deaths so far from the deadly bug. One of the biggest early failures of Britain’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak was in building a test-and-trace system, CNN reported. The UK government has also been criticized for neglecting care homes, allowing many facilities to go without sufficient PPE, testing and clear guidelines.
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) June 26, 2021