Here’s how Twitter reacted to Matt Hancock’s resignation and Sajid Javid’s appointment as Health Secretary

Here’s how Twitter reacted to Matt Hancock’s resignation and Sajid Javid’s appointment as Health Secretary

Matt Hancock has bowed to pressure and resigned from his post as Health Secretary.

The cabinet minister handed in his notice the day after steamy footage emerged of him embracing his close aide and long-time friend Gina Coladangelo.

The images – and video recording – sent shockwaves across the UK, as Brits demanded he hand in the towel for breaching the coronavirus rules he helped create.

Former Chancellor Sajid Javid was named as his replacements within two hours of the announcement.

A statement from 10 Downing Street said: “The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.”

Meanwhile, various outlets including the BBC, The Sunday Mirror, and The Sunday Telegraph reported that Coladangelo would also be leaving her job in the health department, although officials had not confirmed this on Saturday night.

Hancock wrote to Boris Johnson on Saturday saying: “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.”

Here’s how Twitter has responded to the news of Hancock’s departure from one of the Government’s most high profile roles:

Without mentioning his predecessor, Javid posted his own tweet about his new appointment:

And here’s what commentators – and old friends and foes – had to say:

Meanwhile, author and lawyer Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu made an important plea to the public and press:

In his letter, which has been widely shared on social media, Hancock wrote: “I want to reiterate my apology for breaking the guidance, and apologise to my family and loved ones for putting them through this. I also need to be with my children at this time.”

He added: “We owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down as I have done by breaching the guidance.”

He also paid tribute to NHS staff and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) officials and admitted that “we didn’t get every decision right”.

But he said: “I know people understand how hard it is to deal with the unknown, making the difficult trade-off between freedom, prosperity and health that we have faced.”

In a video posted to Twitter, the MP said: “I understand the enormous sacrifices that everybody in this country has made, you have made. And those of us who make these rules have got to stick by them and that’s why I’ve got to resign.”

In response to his announcement, the Prime Minister wrote: “You should leave office very proud of what you have achieved – not just in tackling the pandemic, but even before Covid-19 struck us.”

And he said: “Above all, it has been your task to deal with a challenge greater than that faced by any of your predecessors, and in fighting Covid you have risen to that challenge – with the abundant energy, intelligence, and determination that are your hallmark.”

The development comes after fellow Tories began to break ranks to call for the Health Secretary to go.

Conservative veteran Christopher Chope said his constituents were “seething” at Hancock’s behaviour, while Norfolk MP Duncan Baker commented: “In my view people in high public office and great positions of responsibility should act with the appropriate morals and ethics that come with that role.”

Johnson had refused to sack the Health Secretary, with his spokesman saying the PM considered the matter closed after receiving the West Suffolk MP’s apology on Friday.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer suggested his counterpart should have given Hancock the boot immediately, tweeting:

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner and Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy all offered similar assessments:

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrats’ leader Sir Ed Davey tweeted:

Appointed Health Secretary in 2018 after spending 18 months in the culture brief, Hancock has been a prominent figure for the Government during its handling of the pandemic.

Following a series of uncomfortable headlines in recent weeks, the MP faced pressure to stand down after The Sun newspaper published CCTV footage of him kissing Coladangelo, apparently inside his ministerial office last month.

The images published were taken on May 6 when guidance on social distancing said “no person may participate in a gathering” that “consists of two or more people… and takes place indoors”.

An exception to this rule was that the gathering was “reasonably necessary for work purposes or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services”.

The fallout comes after the Prime Minister’s former aide Dominic Cummings shared text messages in which Johnson apparently called the Health Secretary “totally f***ing useless”.

Cummings accused the senior minister of lying to the PM over promises to protect those in care homes during the first wave of Covidinfections by testing new residents before being admitted.

Hancock has dismissed claims he lied and called Johnson’s “hopeless” jibe “ancient history”.

During the first face-to-face meeting between the Queen and the Prime Minister since the pandemic started, the monarch called Hancock a “poor man” owing to the challenges he’s faced during his time in the coronavirus limelight.

Little did she know the nation would soon have little sympathy for him.

Hancock, who is said to have met Coladangelo at university, has been married to his wife Martha for 15 years and they have three children together.

Coladangelo, the lobbyist, aide and minsiter’s alleged lover, told a BBC Radio 4 profile on the politician that the pair met at the Oxford University student radio station, Oxygen FM, where she was a news reader and he a sports reporter.

The marketing and communications director at Oliver Bonas, a British retailer founded by her husband Oliver Tress, told the BBC about how Hancock had “told a white lie” to his radio news desk after failing to make it to cover an international rugby match.

She said: “He actually overslept and hot-footed it to the train but didn’t make it to Twickenham in time from Oxford, so had to get off the train at Reading, find a pub, watch the first half in a pub and then go to a phone box outside and report in.

“So he told a white lie, pretended he was at Twickenham watching the rugby when in fact he was in a pub in Reading.”

The Cheshire-raised politician first attended cabinet after being appointed Minister for the Cabinet Office in 2015 by then prime minister David Cameron.

Cameron’s successor Theresa May later promoted him to the role of culture secretary.

The 42-year-old initially threw his hat into the ring to replace May in No 10 during the 2019 Conservative Party leadership contest, but withdrew from the leadership race part way through and was quick to throw his weight behind Johnson.

He was among the handful of ministers to retain his brief when Johnson took power in July 2019, making him one of the most prominent ministers when coronavirus rocked Britain eight months later.

Hancock said he is looking forward to “supporting the Government and the Prime Minister from the back benches to make sure that we can get out of this pandemic” in his resignation video.

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