Health Secretary Matt Hancock has resigned after pictures emerged showing the married minister kissing his adviser Gina Coladangelo.
The revelation follows a series of uncomfortable headlines in recent weeks for the health secretary who had enjoyed a swift rise to the top of UK politics after swapping the Bank of England for the House of Commons.
Appointed Health Secretary in 2018 after spending 18 months in the culture brief, he has been a prominent figure for the government during its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Hancock took only eight years to rise from West Suffolk MP to Health Secretary.
The Oxford and Cambridge educated father-of-three previously worked as an economist at the Bank of England and as chief of staff to George Osborne when he was shadow chancellor of the Exchequer, before becoming an MP.
Mr Hancock, who is said to have met Ms Coladangelo at university, has been married to his wife Martha for 15 years and they have three children together.
Lobbyist Ms Coladangelo told a BBC Radio 4 profile on the politician the pair met at the Oxford University student radio station, Oxygen FM, where she was a news reader and he a sports reporter.
The marketing and communications director at Oliver Bonas, a British retailer founded by her husband Oliver Tress, told the BBC about how Mr Hancock had “told a white lie” to his radio news desk after failing to make it to cover an international rugby match.
She said: “He actually overslept and hot-footed it to the train but didn’t make it to Twickenham in time from Oxford, so had to get off the train at Reading, find a pub, watch the first half in a pub and then go to a phone box outside and report in.
“So he told a white lie, pretended he was at Twickenham watching the rugby when in fact he was in a pub in Reading.”
The Cheshire-raised politician first attended cabinet after being appointed Minister for the Cabinet Office in 2015 by then prime minister David Cameron.
Mr Cameron’s successor Theresa May later promoted him to the role of culture secretary.
The 42-year-old initially threw his hat into the ring to replace Mrs May in No 10 during the 2019 Conservative Party leadership contest, but withdrew from the leadership race part way through and was quick to throw his weight behind Mr Johnson.
He was among the handful of ministers to retain his brief when Mr Johnson took power in July 2019, making him one of the most prominent ministers when coronavirus rocked the UK eight months later.
After photographs were published appearing to show him kissing his adviser, Mr Hancock apologised for breaching social distancing guidance, adding: "I have let people down and am very sorry".
But he has resisted calls for him to resign.
It comes after the Prime Minister’s former aide Dominic Cummings shared text messages in which Boris Johnson is said to have called the Health Secretary – who caught coronavirus last year – “totally f*****g useless”.
Mr Cummings accused the senior minister of lying to the Prime Minister over promises to protect those in care homes during the first wave of Covid-19 infections by testing new residents before being admitted.
Mr Hancock has dismissed claims he lied and called Mr Johnson’s “hopeless” jibe “ancient history”.