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Matt Hancock resigned as Britain’s Health Secretary Saturday, one day after he apologized for breaching COVID-19 regulations. The married politician was pictured kissing and embracing his adviser, with whom British tabloid The Sun alleged he is having an affair.

The newspaper reported that the images were from May 6, two weeks before cross-household contact was allowed indoors in England.

“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.

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“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.

In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he apologized writing, “I want to reiterate my apology for breaking the guidance and apologise to my family and loved ones for putting them through this.”

The Sun’s report had sparked accusations of apparent cronyism, an allegation that the health secretary has faced previously for awarding a contract to a former neighbor for COVID-19 test kits. Hancock has been under pressure for months over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in Britain but had managed to cling onto his role.

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To date, more than 128,000 people have died in the United Kingdom from COVID-19 – the highest death toll in Europe. One of the biggest early failures of the UK’s response to COVID-19 was in building a test-and-trace system. The British government has also been criticized for neglecting care homes, allowing many facilities to go without sufficient PPE, testing, and clear guidelines.

The divisive figure, who quit his post last November amid the UK’s deadly second wave of the pandemic, doubled down on his criticisms of Hancock last week. On March 27, 2020, the same day that Johnson and Hancock both tested positive for the coronavirus, Cummings said he texted the prime minister to tell him the pace of coronavirus testing was too slow and that the health minister had misled the government about his ability to speed it up.

In another text message a month later, on April 27, when National Health Service staff were running out of critical masks and gowns, Johnson said the PPE shortages were “a disaster,” and suggested taking Hancock off procurement of the equipment entirely.

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Asked last week by Sky News whether he was indeed hopeless, Hancock said: “I don’t think so.”
Johnson has not commented on the WhatsApp messages, and his official spokesman said the Prime Minister does not plan to engage with every allegation that is made.

The chaos around Hancock had already reached such a scale that it even drew the attention of the Queen.
The Queen alluded to the health secretary’s woes on Wednesday in her first in-person audience with the prime minister in 15 months, informing Johnson that she had been speaking to “your secretary of state for health, poor man.”

It is unclear whether the comment was a reaction to the heavy burden of managing the country’s coronavirus response, or an acknowledgment of the criticism Hancock has received from Cummings.

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