Politics

Conservative MP breaks ranks and says Matt Hancock should resign


A member of the 2019 intake of Conservative MPs has become the first from the party to publicly suggest Matt Hancock should resign after he admitted breaking Covid rules.

Duncan Baker, the MP for North Norfolk, told the Eastern Daily Press that people in public office with positions of responsibility “should act with the appropriate moral and ethics that come with that role”.

“Matt Hancock, on a number of measures has fallen short of that,” he said.

“As an MP who is a devoted family man, married for twelve years with a wonderful wife and children, standards and integrity matter to me. I will not in any shape condone this behaviour, and I have in the strongest possible terms told the government what I think.”

Mr Baker told the newspaper the health secretary should resign and said he had made his views known to Boris Johnson’s administration.

It comes after the prime minister attempted to save his beleaguered cabinet minister — declaring the matter “closed” on Friday — but questions have continued to mount over Mr Hancock’s conduct in office, after he was filmed embracing in his Whitehall office with a longtime friend he placed on the government payroll.

The Daily Telegraph also reported Conservative MPs were telling the prime minister to “pull the plug” on the health secretary, but, until now, have resisted from making their views publicly known.

Speaking on GB News on Saturday, Esther McVey, a former Tory cabinet minister also added to the intensifying pressure on Mr Hancock, saying: “If it had been me, I would have resigned myself.”

She added: “I’m hoping that Matt Hancock is thinking the same thing that he doesn’t have to have it pushed upon him it will be viewed far more admirably if he comes forward reassessing it and that’s what I’d to see.”

A video of Mr Hancock in an embrace with Gina Coladangelo was published on Friday night, after stills from the CCTV clip earlier in the day prompted Labour to deem his position “hopelessly untenable”.

Defending Mr Hancock, cabinet colleague Robert Jenrick told the BBC on Friday evening that it was “right” the health secretary had issued an apology.

“There’s a task to be done. Matt is on the job doing that, and I think we should allow him to get on with the job.”

“The rules have been hard,” he added. “It is everybody’s duty to follow the rules, but equally I’ve not been somebody who has criticised and condemned people when they’ve made mistakes.”

In a statement, Mr Hancock said: “I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances. 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.”

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