Sajid returns as UK health secretary

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Matt Hancock has been under pressure to quit after The Sun newspaper published pictures of him and his aid violating social distancing norms at the British Department of Health’s London HQ, reports Asian Lite News

Former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid has been appointed health secretary after the resignation of Matt Hancock, Downing Street said.

Javid previously served as home secretary from 2018 to 2019 and then as chancellor of the exchequer until February last year, when he was succeeded by Rishi Sunak.

Hancock resigned Saturday after admitting that he broke the Covid-19 social distancing guidelines during alleged affair with his aide, which reportedly caused an outrage in the country.

In his resignation letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Hancock said that “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 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.”

Hancock also posted a video on his Twitter account, in which he said “those of us who make these rules have got to stick by them, and that’s why I have got to resign.”

Hancock has been under increasing pressure to quit after The Sun newspaper on Friday published pictures of him and his aid Gina Coladangelo kissing at the British Department of Health’s London HQ reportedly during office hours in May.

Hancock’s resignation came after embarrassing footage emerged of the health secretary in a clinch with his aide Coladangelo on May 6, when the public were still being advised not to hug people outside their household, a newspaper reported.

Javid said his top priority is ending the pandemic and getting the country back to normal. “We are still in a pandemic and I want to see that this comes to an end as soon as possible and that will be my most immediate priority to see that we can return to normal as soon and as quickly as possible,” he told Sky TV in London.

“I think Matt Hancock worked incredibly hard and he achieved a lot and he will have more to offer,” Javid told Sky.

“Honoured to have been asked to serve as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care at this critical time. I look forward to contributing to our fight against the pandemic, and serving my country from the Cabinet once again,” Javid tweeted after being appointed. Javid was forced to quit after reported tensions between him and Dominic Cummings PM Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser. At the time, PM Johnson had attached conditions for Javid to continue his position as finance minister. Javid was asked to fire his political advisers, which he refused to do.

“So Carrie appoints Saj! NB If I hadn’t tricked PM into firing Saj, we’d have had a HMT with useless SoS/spads, no furlough scheme, total chaos instead of JOINT 10/11 team which was a big success. Saj = bog standard = chasing headlines + failing = awful for NHS. Need #RegimeChange,” Cummings tweeted, indicating that PM Johnson’s wife Carrie Symonds played a role in the decision to appoint Javid as the new health secretary.

Javid faces challenges ahead as cases started to rise last month. Javid will help the NHS (National Health Service, which has been at the forefront in handling Covid-19 cases) recover from the pandemic and dealing with any future infection waves.

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