Matt Hancock makes 'heartfelt apology' to Tory members on kissing scandal
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Matt Hancock has given Conservative members in his West Suffolk constituency a "heartfelt apology" for events which led to him resigning as health secretary.
West Suffolk Conservative Association now issued a statement formally backing the ex-health secretary to continue representing the constituency following the apology.
Fellow Suffolk MPs have also given their backing to Mr Hancock following his resignation on Saturday, which came after The Sun newspaper published photos of him kissing advisor Gina Coladangelo.
This newspaper has repeatedly tried to contact West Suffolk Conservative Association, which first selected Mr Hancock as its candidate for the 2010 general election, for comment since the revelations broke on Friday.
Now, more than three days after Mr Hancock resigned, a statement from the association said:
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“Following Matt Hancock’s resignation as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, West Suffolk Conservative Association has taken soundings.
"We wish to express our support for Matt, who has served our constituency tirelessly over the past 11 years.
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"Matt has given us a heartfelt apology for recent events, has faced up to the mistakes he has made on both a human and a professional level and expressed sincere contrition.
"We want to thank Matt for the extraordinary job he has done as health secretary leading the country through the pandemic and overseeing the roll out of the world's best vaccination programme, and look forward to working with him as he continues to represent his constituents in parliament.”
Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said: "It's difficult in the heat of the moment to appreciate what someone has done.
"But, he has been health secretary during one of the most challenging periods in our country's history.
"And he's helped to deliver a vaccination programme which has been world beating. And I hope that is the legacy he will leave.
"But from a Suffolk point of view, I've worked with Matt for 11 years. He's an important part of a team Suffolk MPs who have worked well together. He certainly has my full support.
"It's important at this moment in time that he's given time and space.
"I have no doubt that he will continue to contribute, as a member of our team of Suffolk MPs into the future."
Tom Hunt, MP for Ipswich, said: "I think he made the right decision resigning as secretary of state for health. I think he made a significant mistake, and he's paid a price for that.
"But I will work with all Suffolk MPs to deliver results for my constituents.
"Whenever I've met with Matt Hancock, I've dealt with a man who is engaged and passionate about his constituency and takes interest in the county.
"I've always worked with him well on local issues and I can't see any reason why that wouldn't continue to be the case."
James Cartlidge, MP for South Suffolk, added: "Matt has now resigned and we've got a new health secretary and I think we just need to move on."