Matt Hancock claims he resigned as Health Secretary because he felt “increasingly isolated” following the backlash over his case.
He and his aide Gina Coladangelo were pictured kissing in violation of the Tories’ own social distancing guidelines last May.
In the latest extract from his diary, serialized by The Mail+, Mr Hancock said Boris Johnson assured him he could carry on despite the uproar.
Covid guidelines at the time prohibited any physical contact with people from separate households.
After the story broke in The Sun last year, Mr Hancock said he found himself “increasingly isolated” politically and had no choice but to resign.
He also revealed his last resignation statement was filmed by Mr Johnson on a mobile phone.
Mr Hancock said he had to do repeat takes because the camera was bobbing up and down so much.
The publication of his Pandemic Diaries coincides with his return to Westminster from Australia after his controversial spell on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!
In the newspapers, Mr Hancock recounts how, on June 24, 2021, he went to the Prime Minister in Downing Street to tell him what The Sun was planning to publish.
Mr Johnson reportedly replied: ‘Well, you didn’t break the law.’ The guidelines are not binding – they are recommendations. Then I will stand by your side.
However, last weekend Mr Hancock explained that he had realized his position was becoming untenable.
“In private, I was still getting positive messages from colleagues. In public, few were prepared to defend me. Politically, I was increasingly isolated,” he wrote.
“I went to Checkers to see the Prime Minister. I explained that I had thought about what had happened and how it had made people feel – and that my decision was made. The damage to my family and the government was too great.
“I told Boris I had to quit.”
Mr Hancock also described this farcical scene in the garden of Checkers – the Prime Minister’s official country residence – as they tried to film his resignation statement.
“In the end, the great machinery of the state was nowhere. It was just me and the Prime Minister fumbling around with an iPhone. He stood on the grass, holding the phone as I said my part. It took a few tries to get it right,” he wrote.
“He nodded with sympathetic encouragement so much throughout the first take that the camera waved up and down. In the end, it wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t care: I had to get it out.
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