BORIS Johnson appears to have hinted Matt Hancock could return to the Government because his “contribution is far from over” — despite slamming him as “useless” in a text.
The embattled Health Secretary quit his role on Saturday, a day after humiliating footage of his romantic clinch with a senior aide was published by HOAR.
Follow our Matt Hancock live blog for all the latest updates on his affair
Mr Hancock’s three-year tenure as health secretary came to an end after HOAR published stills of what appeared to be CCTV footage from inside his ministerial office of him kissing Ms Coladangelo.
In a resignation letter to the PM, Mr Hancock said the government “owed it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down”.
In a reply letter, Mr Johnson said he was sorry to receive his resignation and paid tribute to him and his work battling Covid.
But he also appeared to have left the door open for his return.
Concluding, Boris writes: “You should be immensely proud of your service. I am grateful for your support and believe that your contribution to public service is far from over.”
It comes as…
- Matt Hancock announced he was resigning almost 48 hours after his affair with his aide was exposed
- The Health Secretary told his wife he was leaving her as the affair was revealed
- Gina Coladangelo has left her position on the Department of Health board after the affair with Hancock
- Read Matt Hancock’s resignation letter in full
- Sajid Javid will be the new Health Secretary
But praise comes days after he branded Mr Hancock “totally f***ing hopeless” in bombshell WhatsApps released by ex No10 aide Dominic Cummings.
Mr Hancock had caused problems for the PM as Conservative MPs began to break ranks to call for him to go.
Mr Johnson had refused to sack his Health Secretary, with his spokesman saying the PM considered the matter closed after receiving the West Suffolk MP’s apology yesterday.
A Downing Street source said: “Boris accepted the resignation reluctantly. This was very much Matt’s decision.”
But after the resignation, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer fumed: “Matt Hancock is right to resign. But Boris Johnson should have sacked him.”
Liberal Democrats’ leader Sir Ed Davey tweeted: “Matt Hancock’s legacy as Health Secretary will be one of cronyism and failure.
“And the fact that Boris Johnson thought Hancock could just carry on regardless brings the Prime Minister’s judgement into question once again.”
Former Chancellor and Home Secretary Sajid Javid will replace Hancock as Health Secretary, Downing Street has announced.
Ms Coladangelo, a friend from Mr Hancock’s days at Oxford University, was brought into DHSC as an unpaid adviser last year before being given the £15,000-a-year role of non-executive director in the department.
She is also reportedly leaving her position on the board of the Department of Health.
Legislation in place at the time said that “no person may participate in a gathering” that “consists of two or more people… and takes place indoors”.
An exception to this rule was that the gathering was “reasonably necessary for work purposes or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services”
Mr Johnson’s praise for his outgoing Health Secretary comes days after he branded Mr Hancock “totally f***ing hopeless” in bombshell WhatsApps released by ex No10 aide Dominic Cummings.
Mr Cummings published an expletive-ridden 7,000-word blogpost stuffed with explosive screenshots of texts with the PM.
A former ally of Boris Johnson, he shared his private comments with the PM during the height of the Covid crisis.
Mr Johnson branded Matt Hancock “totally f***ing hopeless” and wanted to replace him with Michael Gove, according to the bombshell WhatsApp messages.
Mr Cummings published a series of screenshots purportedly showing exchanges between himself and the Prime Minister to combat what he said are “lies” from No 10.