British Health Minister resigns after breaching pandemic restrictions

The UK Health Minister, Matt Hancock, announced his resignation on Saturday after photographs came to light this week that reveal that he had an affair with one of his assistants and violated social distance rules during the pandemic. “Those of us who make the rules must abide by them, and that is why I must resign,” said Hancock, one of the main people responsible so far for the strategy against the pandemic in the British Government, in a video released via Twitter.

The tabloid “The Sun” aired on Friday an image of the minister hugging and kissing one of his assistants that was taken on May 6, when the Executive asked not to maintain physical contact with people who do not live together and not approach less than one meter to others in work environments without a mask.

“The last thing I would like is for my private life to distract attention from efforts to end the coronavirus,” Hancock said in the letter in which he announced his resignation to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “We must be honest with the people who have sacrificed so much during this pandemic when we failed them, as I have done by violating the recommendations,” added the hitherto Health Minister.

Taking stock of his management of the health crisis, Hancock, 42, admitted that the government “did not get all the decisions right”, but appealed to people’s understanding of “how hard it is to deal with something unknown.” He added that since the pandemic broke out, it has been necessary to make trade-offs “between freedom, prosperity and health.”

The minister has been embroiled in a bitter political controversy for several weeks, since Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s former senior adviser, now disgraced, accused him of having lied on several occasions during the management of the pandemic. Last week, Cummings released a screenshot of a text message from the prime minister calling Hancock “useless.”

The images revealed on Friday by “The Sun”, which has not revealed its origin, once again placed the minister, who is married with three children, at the center of the controversy.

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