Sajid Javid «honored» for the position of the new Minister of Health

Sajid Javid said he was «honored» to be asked to be Britain’s health minister afterwards Matt Hancock resigns amid intense pressure to break social distancing rules by kissing an aide.

Former Chancellor and Home Secretary Javid was appointed to the prominent position just 90 minutes after Downing Street announced Hancock’s resignation yesterday evening.

This came the day after a video emerged showing Hancock kissing an aide at his cabinet in violation of coronavirus restrictions.

Pictures and videos showed Hancock cuddling with his aide Gina Coladangelo last month, telling Conservative MPs how their inboxes were filled with complaints similar to those they received during Dominic Cummings’ infamous trip to Barnard Castle during a national lockdown.

In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mr Hancock said: «The last thing I want is for my private life to distract from the single focus leading us out of this crisis.»

He said: “We owe it to the people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we let them down as you did by defying guidance.

In a video posted to Twitter, Mr. Hancock said: «I understand the tremendous sacrifices that every person in this country has made, and have made. Those of us who set these rules must abide by them and that is why I have to resign.»

Various outlets including the BBC, the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Telegraph have reported that Ms Coladangelo is leaving her job at DHSC, but the ministry has not confirmed this.

On the other hand, Mr Javid’s appointment marked a return to the top of politics after he abruptly left the cabinet in shock some 16 months ago.

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He had only had six months in his position as an advisor, and less than a month before handing over his first budget, when he resigned after being asked to sack all his advisors if he wanted to keep his job.

His departure in February last year came after a painful power struggle in government with Boris Johnson’s then-chief adviser Dominic Cummings.

But in a reversal of fortunes, Javid has returned to Boris Johnson’s top team, while Cummings has drawn criticism from outside the government.

Mr Javid tweeted: “We are honored to have been asked to serve as Secretary of State for Health and Social Welfare at this critical time.

«I look forward to contributing to our fight against the pandemic, and serving my Cabinet once again.»

Despite his resignation, questions are unlikely to go away for Mr Hancock regarding the employment of university friend Ms Coladangelo, who was first brought to the department as an unpaid consultant and then took a £15,000 (€17,400) job a year. Non-executive director.

Labor demanded the release of all documents related to her work.

In response to Mr Hancock’s resignation, the Prime Minister wrote: «Above all, your task has been to deal with a challenge greater than that of any of your predecessors, and in fighting Covid, you have faced that challenge – with abundance of energy, intelligence and determination being your hallmark.»

Johnson had held on to Hancock, refusing to fire him as No. 10 said the prime minister considered the matter closed after an initial apology.

But Conservative MPs are beginning to fall out of line to demand Mr Hancock go.

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Veteran Tori Christopher Chubb said his voters were «outraged».

«A large minority or even a majority of the public no longer trust Matt Hancock,» said Andrew Bridgen, Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire.

Mr Javid is taking on not only the coronavirus to tackle it, but NHS reform, wrestling over wages, the lack of a welfare scheme, the appointment of a new NHS chief executive and a huge backlog of treatment.

Dr Chand Nagpol, chair of the British Medical Association Council, said: «Sajid Javid has a huge and urgent task ahead of him.

“He must ensure that implementation of the adult vaccination program is completed at a rapid pace to control rising infection rates. He must also develop a credible plan to address the backlog of care on an unprecedented scale while simultaneously rebuilding the trust of clinicians and the broader healthcare workforce.”

Labour’s shadow health minister, Jonathan Ashworth, said: «Sajid Javid has failed to reverse the past eight years of welfare cuts or deliver the investment the NHS needed in his time as Treasurer.

«He now needs to explain how he will bring down high waiting lists, ensure that people get the cancer care they need, get vital mental health support for young people and crucially reform social care, which has suffered massive cuts under the Conservative government.»

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