Matt Hancock quit as health secretary because he felt 'isolated' after affair
Matt Hancock claims he resigned as health secretary because he felt ‘increasingly isolated’ following backlash to his affair.
He and aide Gina Coladangelo were pictured kissing in breach of the Tory’s own social-distancing guidelines last May.
In the latest extract of his diary, serialised by The Mail+, Mr Hancock said Boris Johnson had assured him he could carry on despite the uproar.
Covid guidelines at the time had barred physical contact with people from separate households.
After the story broke in The Sun last year, Mr Hancock said he found himself ‘increasingly isolated’ politically and was left with no choice but to quit.
He also disclosed that his final resignation statement was filmed by Mr Johnson on a mobile phone.
Mr Hancock said he had to do repeated takes because the camera was waving up and down so much.
The publication of his Pandemic Diaries coincides with his return to Westminster from Australia following his controversial spell on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!
In the diaries, Mr Hancock records how, on June 24, 2021, he went to see the Prime Minister in Downing Street to tell him what The Sun planned to publish.
Mr Johnson reportedly replied: ‘Well, you haven’t broken the law. The guidelines aren’t binding – they’re recommendations. So I will stand by you.’
However, by the weekend Mr Hancock explained that he had realised his position was becoming untenable.
‘Privately, I was still getting positive messages from colleagues. Publicly, few were willing to defend me. Politically, I was increasingly isolated,” he wrote.
‘I went to Chequers to see the PM. I explained that I had been thinking about what had happened and how it had made people feel – and that my mind was made up. The damage to my family and to the Government was too great.
‘I told Boris I had to resign.’
Mr Hancock also described that farcical scene in the garden of Chequers – the prime minister’s official country residence – as they tried to film his resignation statement.
‘In the end, the great machinery of the State was nowhere. It was just me and the PM fumbling around with an iPhone. He stood on the grass, holding the phone while I said my piece. It took a few goes to get it right,” he wrote.
‘He nodded sympathetic encouragement so much throughout the first take that the camera waved up and down. In the end it wasn’t perfect, but I was beyond caring: I had to get it out.’
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