British health secretary resigns after leaked photo shows him kissing aide

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Saturday announced his resignation following a leaked photo of him kissing an aide.

In a video posted on his Twitter, Hancock said, “I understand the enormous sacrifices that everybody in this country has made, that you have made, and those of us who make these rules have got to stick by them, and that’s why I’ve got to resign.”

The comments come as Hancock faces backlash for a photo of him kissing an aide, reportedly during a time when it would have broken some of the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 protocols.

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British news outlet The Sun published the photo — which was reportedly taken last month — on Friday. It’s unclear how The Sun obtained the photo.

According to Reuters, Hancock issued an apology on Friday after the photo was published, saying in a statement, “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 on this personal matter,” he added, according to Reuters.

A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told NBC News that he had “accepted the health secretary’s apology and considers the matter closed.”

In Hancock’s video, he said he looks forward to supporting the country from “the back benches.”

“I look forward to supporting the government, the prime minister from the back benches to make sure that we can get out of this pandemic,” he said. “We’re so close to the end and then build back better so that this country can fulfill its potential, which is so great.”