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With Hancock gone, Javid is likely to lead the government on a less cautious pandemic route

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When the images first emerged in the early hours of Friday of Matt Hancock caught in a passionate embrace at work with his married female aide, the instinct in No 10 was to keep calm and carry on. The Prime Minister took the view that the best way to deal with this type of story was to ignore it. Hancock put out an apology statement and No 10 aides suggested it was a matter of case closed.

But that strategy soon fell short as public anger grew over Covid hypocrisy and more questions were asked about the health secretary’s conduct. Hancock came to the conclusion that his position was untenable and resigned, with his replacement was swiftly announced as former chancellor Sajid Javid. That decision has consequences both for the Prime Minister and the Government’s handling of the pandemic going forward.

Among Tory MPs there is a sense of relief that Hancock has quit. Although ministers out on the airwaves had been publicly backing him and declaring the affair a private matter, behind the scenes discomfort was........

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