FORMER Chancellor and Home Secretary Sajid Javid will replace Matt Hancock as Health Secretary, Downing Street announced tonight.
The highly-experienced MP has been described as a "ready made" minister for Boris Johnson's government battles the pandemic.
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As well as overseeing the Government's response to Covid-19, he will be tasked with devising reforms to the funding and provision of social care.
His appointment was announced shortly before 8pm tonight – less than two hours after Hancock's resignation was made public after he was pictured in a romantic clinch with a senior aide in his office.
Javid resigned as chancellor last February after Boris Johnson asked him to sack all of his advisers amid a row over the independence of the Treasury.
He repeatedly clashed with Johnson’s then senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, over issues such as restraints on spending.
Javid’s resignation letter to the PM contained a number of parting shots at the No 10 operation then led by Cummings.
It included a plea for the Treasury to retain its credibility, and a warning that leaders needed to have “trusted teams that reflect the character and integrity that you would wish to be associated with”.
Javid, 51, has been the Conservative MP for Bromsgrove since 2010.
He was born in Rochdale, Lancs, as one of five sons. His mother and bus driver father had moved here from Pakistan in the 1960s.
On April 30, 2018, he was appointed Home Secretary after Amber Rudd was forced to quit in the wake of the Windrush scandal.
He was the first person from an ethnic minority to hold one of the top four positions in government (the others being Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Secretary).
Sajid and his wife Laura have four children.
It comes as…
- Matt Hancock announced he was resigning almost 48 hours after his affair with his aide was exposed
- The Health Secretary told his wife he was leaving her as the affair was revealed
- Gina Coladangelo has left her position on the Department of Health board after the affair with Hancock
- Read Matt Hancock's resignation letter in full
- Boris Johnson told Hancock 'you should be proud of what you've achieved' as he accepted his resignation
He has received hate mail for marrying a non-Muslim even though he says he does not practise any religion.
The Department of Health and Social Care will be the sixth government department that Mr Javid has run, after previous posts as chancellor, home secretary, housing secretary, business secretary and culture secretary.
A statement from 10 Downing Street said: "The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care."
Hancock resigned after humiliating and intimate footage of his romantic clinch with a senior aide in his office was published by The Sun.
Hancock quit amid mounting pressure from colleagues over images of him kissing and cuddling Gina Coladangelo in a clear breach of coronavirus restrictions.
He finally fell on his sword admitting he had "let down" the millions who had made painful personal sacrifices during the pandemic.
Support for the minister had been dwindling after it emerged he told his wife he was leaving her on Thursday shortly after he learned that his affair with married Coladangelo was about to be exposed.
Martha Hancock had no idea her husband was having an affair until he broke the news and announced that their marriage was over, reports the Times.
Observers were quick to point out that he does not specifically mention his wife in his resignation letter to the Prime Minister.
He wrote: "I am writing to resign as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. We have worked so hard as a country to fight the pandemic.
"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.
"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 to 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.
"The NHS is the best gift a nation has ever given itself, and the dedication and courage of the NHS staff and the ceaseless work of the officials in the Department is something we should all be proud of."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was "sorry" to receive Hancock's resignation.
He said Hancock "should leave office very proud of what you have achieved – not just in tackling the pandemic, but even before Covid-19 struck us".
He added: "I am grateful for your support and believe that your contribution to public service is far from over."
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