Outgoing Health Secretary Matt Hancock with his replacement Sajid Javid (Image: WILL OLIVER/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
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Some are more equal than others in today’s Tory Party – just as in Animal Farm.
Not only do they have their snouts in the trough of public money, but behind the privileged fencing of Whitehall, ministers were allowed to graze happily no matter what they did.
Ordinary people are losing their jobs through no fault of their own. Yet when ministers made serious errors of judgement they were allowed to carry on regardless.
There is no fairness or equality in that.
And it destroys confidence in those who rule us at a time when trust in the nation’s leaders matters most.
That trust plummeted when Dominic Cummings broke the very lockdown rules he had helped to devise.
Yet Boris Johnson kept him in post and his top aide only went later because of an internal No10 power struggle.
The Prime Minister does not seem to learn from his mistakes.
Matt Hancock pictured kissing his aide Gina Coladangelo
(Image: Image: The Sun)
When Matt Hancock also broke Covid rules, Mr Johnson thought an apology was enough and the matter was closed.
That was a reaction as outrageous as it was complacent. The matter was far from closed. The public were never going to wear that.
Even Tory MPs could see Mr Hancock’s position was untenable. And after a day of piling on the pressure for him to quit, tonight he finally did.
After all, it was Mr Hancock who ordered us not to meet our loved ones, let alone hug them.
Yet while that rule was still in force, he was caught doing more than just hugging his lover.
It was Mr Hancock who told scientist Neil Ferguson he was right to resign for something similar. Yet that was quickly forgotten as the Health Secretary made a grubby attempt to cling on to power.
Expect to hear praise today from former Cabinet colleagues of Mr Hancock saying he has done the decent thing.
Do not be fooled.
His resignation was inevitable. Only the PM and Mr Hancock could not see it.
The decent thing, the right thing, the honourable thing to do would have been to resign immediately on Thursday when his flouting of Covid restrictions began to come to light.
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Better still, he should have had the wit not to flout them in the first place.
We accept the vaccine programme has been a great success. It is what gives us hope for the future. It is what may give us our normal lives back.
But while Mr Hancock was Health Secretary, there were also too many failures.
He failed to protect the elderly in care homes. He failed to procure PPE for health workers as speedily as he should.
The NHS will not shed any tears at his going. The hope now is that whoever replaces him does a better job.
Farmers know that there must come a time when they say goodbye to their animals.
If Boris Johnson was even an adequate prime minister, he would have said goodbye to his Health Secretary sooner.
By sacking him on the spot.