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Matt Hancock exit: Could Health Secretary be fired? The THREE potential replacements

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been accused of having an affair with one of his closest aides, Gina Coladangelo, 43, who was hired last year amid pandemic efforts. The duo were caught in an embrace at his Whitehall office in the Department of Health and Social Care. This isn’t the first time Mr Hancock has landed himself in hot water this year, after it emerged he broke the ministerial code by failing to declare a stake in a family company that won an NHS contract. 

Questions were raised about Mr Hancock’s register of interests, given that his brother-in-law and sister run a company called Topwood Ltd in which the Secretary has a 20 percent stake. 

The firm won a contract with NHS Shared Business Services Ltd in 2019, but he did not immediately declare his interest. 

This prompted much criticism form the Labour Party that the Conservative Government was “infected with widespread cronyism”, although one Government spokesperson insisted that Mr Hancock had “acted entirely properly”. 

Mr Hancock has been fighting to save his reputation since Mr Cummings accused him of “criminal” behaviour and leaked WhatsApp messages in which the Prime Minister dubbed him “hopeless”. 

Will the Health Secretary resign?

As things stand, nobody has come forward to say the Health Secretary could resign his role amid allegations. 

Star Sports has odds of him resigning at 4/6, while Sky Sports expects Mr Hancock to be out of a job by the end of July. 

The 42-year-old is 11/10 to remain in his post after July, but given recently surfaced text messages between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and former senior aide Dominic Cummings, this could be the last straw for the PM. 

Luke Tarr, Head of PR at Star Sports said: “Things just seem to go form bad to worse for Matt Hancock, and the story emerging this morning of his reported extra-marital affair could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and sees him removed from his position.

“We make him 4/6 to leave his post as Health Secretary by July 30, while he’s 11/20 to keep his job in Boris Johnson’s cabinet.”

Ladbrokes have the odds of Mr Hancock stepping down by the end of 2021 slashed from 4/6 into 2/5. 

As things stand, odds are at 2/1 that he will resign his secretarial role by the end of this month. 

Matt Hancock said: “I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances. I have let people down and am very sorry.

“I remain focused on working to get the country out of this pandemic, and would be grateful for privacy for my family.”

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Who could replace Matt Hancock as Health Secretary?

Express.co.uk Political correspondent Dan Falvey told us he thinks Nadhim Zahawi would be the ideal candidate for the job as he’s “clearly done well with the vaccine rollout”.

He added it would also be a “minimal shift” with “no need for a full reshuffle”.

Dan said: “Nadhim Zahawi has impressed No10 with his handling of the jabs rollout in his position as vaccines minister.

“The immunisation drive is the Government’s biggest success of the whole pandemic and many in Whitehall have been impressed by the way he has co-ordinated the inoculation programme.

“With all adults now eligible for a vaccine, it would be perfect timing to move him into a new brief.

“Alternatively, leaked texts from Dominic Cummings highlight at one point last year Boris Johnson considered replacing Matt Hancock with Cabinet Minister Michael Gove.

“The third option would be to give it to a junior minister already in the Health Department such as Helen Whatley.

“But such a promotion may be too much of a step up during a national health crisis.”

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