After posting a letter of resignation to Boris Johnson – who previously stood by Hancock amid the scandal that ensued when pictures of him kissing his aide were published in The Sun this week – the cabinet minister posted a video on his Twitter page explaining his decision to step down.
Standing in front of a row of bushes, Hancock said in the video: “I understand the enormous sacrifices that everybody in this country has made – that you have made.
“And those of us who make these rules have got to stick by them, and that’s why I’ve got to resign.”
He continued: “I want to thank people for their incredible sacrifices and what they’ve done – everybody working in the NHS, across social care, everyone involved in the vaccine programme, and frankly, everyone in this country who has risen to the challenges that we’ve seen over this past 18 months.”
As the clip began doing the rounds on Twitter, many pointed out that the video was putting them in mind of a rather pertinent meme, involving a certain yellow TV patriarch…
Hancock was pictured kissing Gina Coladangelo on 6 May, almost two weeks before rules were relaxed allowing friends and family to meet indoors, and to enjoy close personal contact like hugging.
Earlier this week, Hancock apologised for having broken social distancing measures in The Sun’s pictures, saying in a statement: “I have let people down and am very sorry. 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.”
A Downing Street rep then responded: “The prime minister accepts the apology and considers the matter closed.”
However, in his letter to the PM, Hancock wrote: “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.
“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.”
Sajid Javid has now been re-appointed as health secretary, having previously served as home secretary between 2018 and 2019.