September 24, 2022

Pressure builds on UK’s Boris Johnson to fire health secretary, Europe News & Top Stories

LONDON (REUTERS) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was under mounting pressure on Saturday (June 26) to fire his health secretary after the admission that he broke Covid-19 guidelines by kissing an employee sparked accusations of blatant hypocrisy.

Mr Matt Hancock, 42, has been at the centre of the government’s fight against the pandemic, routinely telling people to follow strict rules and even welcoming the resignation last year of a senior scientist who broke restrictions in a similar manner.

Mr Hancock apologised on Friday after The Sun newspaper showed him kissing and embracing a senior aide in his office last month, at a time when it was against the rules for people to have intimate contact with a person outside their household.

“I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances,” he said. “I have let people down and am very sorry.”

Mr Johnson said on Friday he considered the matter to now be closed.

But Britain’s leading newspapers, which all splashed the story on their front pages, said Mr Hancock had lost any moral authority and must go.

The opposition Labour Party questioned whether he had also breached the ministerial code by hiring a woman who had been a friend for years – reigniting charges of cronyism that have previously hit Mr Johnson’s Conservative government.

“Mr Hancock cannot now hope to put on a straight face and tell us how to behave and seriously expect us to listen,” The Sun said in its leader column. “There is the rank stench of hypocrisy.”

The case had echoes of an incident last year when Mr Johnson’s then most senior adviser, Mr Dominic Cummings, also broke the rules at the height of the pandemic, sparking fury across the country and accusations that Mr Johnson’s government believed itself to be above the law.

Mr Johnson, prime minister since 2019, has refused on a number of occasions to sack ministers, including his interior minister who was found to have broken rules by shouting and swearing at staff, prompting the official ethics adviser to resign instead.

The prime minister has himself been criticised in an official report over his personal finances.

And the country’s spending watchdog has criticised the government for the way it awarded billions of pounds of contracts at the height of the pandemic, after some multi-million pound contracts went to companies with links to ministers, lawmakers and officials.

The health ministry has said it needed to move quickly.

The Times newspaper said Mr Johnson’s approach to criticism and wrongdoing put public support at risk.

“The danger is that this cavalier approach to rules is becoming corrosive to that most precious commodity for any government – public trust,” it said.

Mr Hancock, who is married, has said he is now focused on getting the country out of the pandemic and has asked for privacy for his family.

in World
Related Posts

Demands for answers in aftermath of Florida building collapse, United States News & Top Stories

June 26, 2021

June 26, 2021

MIAMI (AFP) – Rescuers are still searching for survivors in rubble of the collapsed Florida apartment tower, but pressure is...

Germany to speed up wind and solar energy expansion: Draft, Europe News & Top Stories

June 3, 2021

June 3, 2021

BERLIN (REUTERS) – The German government plans to speed up the expansion of wind and solar energy by 2030 as...

Warren Buffett resigns from Gates Foundation, has donated half his fortune, World News & Top Stories

June 24, 2021

June 24, 2021

NEBRASKA (REUTERS) – Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said he is resigning as a trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates...

GZERO VIDEO: Brazil must maintain good terms with both East and West, says country’s ex-president, World News & Top Stories

May 31, 2021

May 31, 2021

NEW YORK (GZERO MEDIA) – Brazil’s government has no choice but to try and maintain good terms with both the...

Number of foreign tourists visiting Spain slowly recovers as restrictions ease, Europe News & Top Stories

June 1, 2021

June 1, 2021

MADRID (REUTERS) – The number of foreign tourists visiting Spain rose to 630,657 in April from a virtual zero in...

Microsoft says new breach discovered in probe of suspected SolarWinds hackers, United States News & Top Stories

June 26, 2021

June 26, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) – Microsoft says an attacker had won access to one of its customer-service agents and then used...

Trump seeks spotlight at US-Mexico border with attacks on Biden policies, United States News & Top Stories

June 30, 2021

June 30, 2021

WESLACO, TEXAS (REUTERS) – Former president Donald Trump, in his latest effort to regain the national spotlight, travelled to the...

While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 13, World News & Top Stories

June 12, 2021

June 12, 2021

Denmark’s Eriksen ‘awake’ in hospital after collapsing at Euro 2020 Denmark star Christian Eriksen was awake in hospital and undergoing...

Britain approves J&J Covid-19 vaccine, cuts order, Europe News & Top Stories

May 28, 2021

May 28, 2021

LONDON (REUTERS) – Britain’s medicine regulator on Friday (May 28) approved Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Covid-19 vaccine for use, with...

The revolution in DIY testing that will outlive the Covid-19 pandemic, Europe News & Top Stories

June 4, 2021

June 4, 2021

LONDON (FINANCIAL TIMES) – Imagine the scene: it’s 2023, everyone in north-west London wakes up to a text telling them...

Teens in Mallorca mega-outbreak ferried home in ‘bubble boat’, Europe News & Top Stories

July 1, 2021

July 1, 2021

PALMA, SPAIN (AFP) – A “bubble boat” carrying 118 students linked to a Covid mega-outbreak on Mallorca set sail on...

Biden, Israeli President Rivlin to discuss Iran, Israel defence needs, United States News & Top Stories

June 27, 2021

June 27, 2021

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – US President Joe Biden will meet Israel’s outgoing president Reuven Rivlin at the White House on Monday...

Merkel’s G-7 excursion unsettled by Covid-19 outbreak at hotel, Europe News & Top Stories

June 10, 2021

June 10, 2021

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) – A Covid-19 outbreak in one of the Group of Seven (G-7) summit hotels set off alarm bells...

While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 20, World News & Top Stories

June 19, 2021

June 19, 2021

Brazil tops 500,000 Covid-19 deaths, second only to US Brazil on Saturday crossed the grim threshold of 500,000 coronavirus deaths,...

Russian news site to close over ‘foreign agent’ designation, Europe News & Top Stories

June 3, 2021

June 3, 2021

MOSCOW (AFP) – One of Russia’s last remaining independent media outlets, VTimes, announced on Thursday (June 3) that it would...