Matt Hancock was right to resign over kissing aide, says PM

Health secretary Matt Hancock.

Boris Johnson's official spokesman said the Prime Minister did not sack former health secretary Matt Hancock - Credit: PA

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said former health secretary Matt Hancock was right to resign after CCTV images of him breaking social distancing guidelines were leaked.

The West Suffolk MP resigned from his cabinet position on Saturday following the release of the photos, which showed him kissing aide Gina Coladangelo before restrictions had been lifted.

The prime minister's official spokesman said Mr Johnson did not sack the married Mr Hancock, however, and did not urge him to quit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is continuing to face questions over the scandal - Credit: PA

Asked if Mr Johnson had urged the then health secretary to resign, his spokesman said: “No, the prime minister accepted his resignation, he agreed it was the right decision.”

The spokesman declined to comment further on what had changed between Friday and hen Mr Hancock spoke to Mr Johnson on Saturday.

“All I can say is they discussed it further and the prime minister agreed with the former health secretary that it was right for him to offer his resignation,” the spokesman said.

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Speaking to reporters during a campaign visit to Batley in West Yorkshire, Mr Johnson said the process was “the right pace to proceed in a pandemic”.

His words had initially led some to believe he may have moved to sack Mr Hancock however, after he was asked whether the images undermined the message about being "all in it together".

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Mr Johnson said to reporters: “That’s right, and that’s why when I saw the story on Friday we had a new secretary of state for health in on Saturday.”

Downing Street had originally said Mr Johnson considered the matter "closed" on Friday after the pictures were printed in The Sun.

Constituents in West Suffolk have spoken out against Mr Hancock in the wake of the scandal, with some saying they believe voters will "think twice" if he stands in future elections.

West Suffolk Conservatives have been approached for comment but have not yet released an official statement on the matter.

Mr Hancock apologised over the images and accepted he had let people down.

In his resignation letter, he 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."

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