Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health of the United Kingdom was caught breaking Covid-19 rules after a tabloid newspaper published images of him kissing his aide.
The photographs on the front page of The Sun newspaper showed Hancock flaunting COVID-19 social-distancing guidelines to kiss the woman in his office last month.
The pictures were taken on May 6, eleven days before lockdown rules were eased to allow hugs and other physical contact with people outside one’s own household.
As the story went viral on social media, Health Secretary Hancock, a married 42-year-old father of three, said he had “let people down” with his actions and was “very sorry”.
“I accept that I breached the social-distancing guidance in these circumstances,” he said. “I remain focused on working to get the country out of this pandemic, and would be grateful for privacy for my family on this personal matter.”
Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said the prime minister accepted Hancock’s apology and considered the matter closed.
Asked if Johnson had full confidence in Hancock, who has been engulfed in controversy in recent months, the spokesman said: “Yes”.
The spokesman also said the appointment of Hancock’s aide had been made in “the usual way” and had “followed correct procedure”.
The Sun reported that Hancock met the aide at the University of Oxford in the early 2000s. She is listed on the health department’s website as a non-executive director.