Matt Hancock has resigned as health secretary after admitting breaking coronavirus rules, Downing Street says.
In his letter of resignation, Mr Hancock said: “The last thing I would want is for my private life to distract attention from the single-minded focus that is leading us out of this crisis.
It comes after leaked CCTV showed the MP kissing aide and former lobbyist Gina Coladangelo in his departmental office.
The images, published by The Sun, were from 6 May – more than a week before social distancing rules were eased around close contact indoors for people from separate households.
Ms Coladangelo, who has been a close friend of the former cabinet minister since their time at university, was appointed as a non-executive director at the Department of Health and Social Care last year.
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) June 26, 2021
Mr Hancock said in his letter of resignation: “We owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down as I have done by breaching the guidance.
The NHS is the best gift a nation has ever given itself, and the dedication and courage of the NHS staff and the ceaseless work of the officials in the Department is something we should all be proud of.
“We didn’t get every decision right but I know people understand how hard it is to deal with the unknown, making the difficult trade-offs between freedom, prosperity and health that we have faced.
“I am so proud that Britain avoided the catastrophe of an overwhelmed NHS and that through foresight and brilliant science we have led the world in the vaccination effort, so we stand on the brink of a return to normality.”