More questions to answer over Hancock resignation, says Keir Starmer

27 June 2021, 18:32 | Updated: 27 June 2021, 18:36

Keir Starmer has said Matt Hancock's resignation is "far from the end of the matter"
Keir Starmer has said Matt Hancock's resignation is "far from the end of the matter". Picture: PA

By Daisy Stephens

Sir Keir Starmer has said there are “huge questions still to answer” in the aftermath of the resignation of Matt Hancock.

Speaking to the media in north London, the Labour leader was asked if Sajid Javid is a good replacement health secretary.

"We need a strong health secretary as we come through the pandemic,” said Sir Keir.

"But obviously there's huge questions still to answer.

“If anybody thinks that the resignation of Matt Hancock is the end of the issue, I think they're wrong and I think the incoming health secretary and the Prime Minister now have serious questions to answer about the CCTV, about the access, the passes, the contracts, etc.

"So the resignation is far from the end of the matter."

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When asked whether Labour will support the direction indicated by the new health secretary, who has said he wants a "return to normal as soon and as quickly as possible", Sir Keir said: "What we've seen today already I'm afraid is confusion, because the incoming health secretary said he wants to open up as quickly as possible.

“The Government's now rowed back on that.

"I don't think it's inspired confidence that already in day one, there's been the health secretary saying his position this morning and then the Government rowing back on it."

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Sir Keir also said there should be an investigation into how the footage of Mr Hancock and his aide Gina Coladangelo was released in the first place.

“There's going to have to be an investigation into how that footage got leaked,” he said.

“It's obviously a breach of security… there is seriously an issue about how that got leaked and the Prime Minister and the incoming health secretary are now going to have to get to grips with that."

Sir Keir had previously criticised Boris Johnson for not firing Matt Hancock after the footage emerged, that showed Mr Hancock kissing Ms Coladangelo at a time when close contact outside of your household was banned.

"Matt Hancock was right to resign because he broke the rules - he had to go,” said Sir Keir.

"But the Prime Minister should have sacked him.

“Yet again, Boris Johnson was too slow, too weak and didn't show the leadership that was needed.

"And when the many people who've made huge sacrifices during this pandemic see this, what they see is one rule for them and another rule for those close to Government and there is a lack of integrity at the heart of Government, and it starts with Boris Johnson I'm afraid."