Prime Minister accepts Health Secretary Matt Hancock's apology and 'considers the matter closed"

Downing Street said the Prime Minister has accepted Health Secretary Matt Hancock's apology for breaching social distancing guidelines and "considers the matter closed".

The Health Secretary, and West Suffolk MP, Matt Hancock, had earlier said sorry for breaking social distancing guidance after pictures emerged of him appearing to kiss his aide.

In a statement released on Friday lunchtime, Mr Hancock admitted he had "let people down" and was "very sorry."

The apology comes after images were published in The Sun newspaper appearing to show him in an embrace with his close aide, Gina Coladangelo, in his Whitehall department last month when Government guidance said two people from different households should not hug.

  • ITV News Anglia asked people in Newmarket what they thought

Mr Hancock said: "I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances.

"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."

Mr Hancock, who has three children with his wife of 15 years, also asked for for privacy for his family.

The story made front page news on Friday. Credit: ITV News Anglia/The Sun

Following the publication of the story, Labour called for the Prime Minister to sack Mr Hancock, with Labour Party chairwoman Annaliese Dodds describing his position as Health secretary as " hopelessly untenable."

However, Mr Hancock made it clear that he doesn't intend to resign, and would remain focused on his job.

He also cancelled a visit to a Covid vaccination centre at Newmarket Racecourse, in his constituency, on Friday morning after the story broke.

Gina Coladangelo was recently hired by Mr Hancock as a non-executive director at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), and the pair have known each other since their time at Oxford University together.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said Ms Coladangelo's appointment was "made in the usual way and followed correct procedure”.