On May 16, Hancock told Sky News that he planned to hug his parents when the restrictions on physical contact ended the next day, but said he would only do it outdoors in order to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
Hancock also said people should be “careful” if hugging despite their “yearning” for physical contact.
“We should all be careful, we all know the risks… Of course there are people who have been yearning to have some physical contact,” he said. “You should do that carefully. If you’ve had both jabs more than two weeks ago, that’s much safer.”
The married father-of-three added that it was down to “personal responsibility”.
“We all know now the sorts of things that are riskier… I think personal responsibility is an important mantra here because people have been so responsible through the crisis and they’ve really listened and followed the guidance and instructions that the Prime Minister set out, and that’s the approach we should take together,” he said.
At that time, guidance said people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble. He has now said he is “very sorry” for breaching social distancing guidelines and said that he “let people down”.
In May 2020, Professor Neil Ferguson resigned from his Government position for breaking rules after his relationship with a married woman came to light.
Hancock said he had been left speechless after learning of Ferguson’s “extraordinary” breach of the rules and that police should consider whether to take further action. He said Ferguson “took the right decision to resign”.
Asked about police involvement, he told Sky News: “They will take their decisions independently from ministers, that’s quite right, it’s always been like that…
“So I give them their space to make that decision, but I think he took the right decision to resign.”
Hancock, though, has hinted that he has no intention of resigning, saying he remains “focused on working to get the country out of this pandemic”.