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Health Secretary Matt Hancock dramatically quit this evening amid widespread anger over his flagrant breach of Covid rules.
Pressure had been mounting on the embattled minister after he was filmed kissing government aide and millionaire lobbyist Gina Coladangelo at the Department of Health's London HQ.
He initially refused to quit despite admitting breaking the rules – and Prime Minister Boris Johnson was criticised for not sacking him.
Tonight he finally caved in to pressure, admitting he had "let down" the millions who had made sacrifices during the pandemic.
The footage was reportedly taken on May 6 – when England's law banned indoor social gatherings of people from different households, and guidance urged people to stay two metres apart and avoid "face to face contact".
Click here to read Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson's statements in full
Matt Hancock pictured kissing his aide Gina Coladangelo
(Image: Image: The Sun)
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Mr Hancock had made a desperate attempt hang on to his job and dodge allegations of hypocrisy by issuing a grovelling apology on Thursday.
"I have let people down and am very sorry," he said on Thursday, admitting he broke the rules he wrote "in these circumstances".
On Saturday evening he issued a statement announcing his departure after nearly two days of mounting pressure.
"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.
Mr Hancock faced mounting pressure to step down and finally did so on Saturday evening
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"I want to reiterate my apology for breaking the guidance, and apologise to my family and loved ones for putting them through this.
"I also need be with my children at this time.
"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."
In response, the Prime Minister wrote: "You should leave office very proud of what you have achieved – not just in tackling the pandemic, but even before Covid-19 struck us."
Mr Hancock's decision came after the cracks began to show in Conservative support.
Boris Johnson initially stood by Mr Hancock, after a video of an embrace with university friend and Department of Health non-executive director Gina Coladangelo was published on Friday.
But Conservative MP Duncan Baker was the first on Saturday to confirm he was calling for him to go, while former Cabinet minister Esther McVey said she would resign if in the same position.
Gina Coladangelo, was spotted leaving her family home ahead of the news about her tryst with Matt Hancock going public
(Image: AFP via Getty Images.)
Matt Hancock's kiss with aide Gina Coladangelo won't be investigated by police
Mr Hancock's breach of the rules has been likened to that of former chief aide to the Prime Minister Dominic Cummings, who infamously drove to Barnard Castle in County Durham during a national lockdown.
But unlike that incident, most Tory MPs have so far remained quiet in their support for, or condemnation of, the Health Secretary.
North Norfolk MP Mr Baker was believed to be the first MP to openly call for Mr Hancock to go on Saturday.
He told the Eastern Daily Press newspaper: "In my view people in high public office and great positions of responsibility should act with the appropriate morals and ethics that come with that role.
"Matt Hancock, on a number of measures, has fallen short of that. As an MP who is a devoted family man, married for 12 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."
Gina Colandgelo, with her husband, Oliver Tress
(Image: Getty Images.)
Asked whether this meant he felt Mr Hancock should resign, he said it did.
Ms McVey told GB News: "If it would have been me, I would have resigned myself, and I said that for Dominic (Cummings), and I'm hoping that Matt Hancock is thinking the same thing, that he doesn't have to have it pushed upon him."
She said it would be "viewed far more admirably" if he resigned.
A snap poll from Savanta ComRes, released hours after photographs of the embrace surfaced, found 58% of UK adults thought that Mr Hancock should resign, compared with 25% who thought he should not.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.