- UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock resigned from his position Saturday.
- Leaked photos Friday appeared to show him kissing his longtime friend he hired as his aide.
- Hancock, who is married, apologized for breaking COVID-19 guidelines.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock resigned from his position in the British government Saturday a day after he apologized for being photographed kissing a longtime friend he recently hired as an advisor.
The announcement came one day after British tabloid The Sun published photos that appeared to show Hancock kissing his longtime friend and aide Gina Coladangelo in his office at the Department for Health. The photos were captured May 6, according to The Sun, which claimed Hancock was having an affair with Coladangelo.
Cross-household contact was not yet permitted under the UK COVID-19 guidelines when the photos were taken last month.
As Insider previously reported, Hancock apologized after the photos were published.
“I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances,” Hancock said in a statement Friday.
“I have let people down and am very sorry,” he added. “I remain focused on working to get the country out of this pandemic, and would be grateful for privacy for my family on this personal matter.”
But Hancock announced his resignation Saturday after some called for a probe into the incident.
“I’ve been to see the Prime Minister to resign as Secretary of State for Health and Social care… Those of us who make these rules have got to stick by them, and that’s why I’ve got to resign,” Hancock said in a video posted to Twitter.
“I’m very proud of what we’ve done to protect the NHS at the peak, to deliver that vaccine rollout — one of the fastest in the world — and I look forward to supporting the government and the Prime Minister from the backbenches,” he added.
—Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) June 26, 2021
“I want to reiterate my apology for breaking the guidance and apologise to my family and loved ones for putting them through this,” Hancock wrote in a resignation letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, according to CNN.
The Sunday Times previously reported that Hancock, who is married to another woman, quietly hired Coladangelo to work in his office last year in a role that paid £15,000-a-year.