Matt Hancock said he resigned as health secretary after colleagues failed to publicly defend him after revealing he had an affair with an aide.
In the latest excerpt of his diary, published by The Mail+, Mr Hancock said Boris Johnson had assured him he could carry on, despite the fact that he and Gina Coladangelo were kissed in his office, in violation of his own social distancing guidelines be.
But after the story broke in The Sun last year, he said he felt “increasingly isolated” politically and had no choice but to quit.
Mr Hancock also revealed that his final resignation statement was filmed on a mobile phone by Mr Johnson. He said he had to take repetitive shots because the camera panned up and down so much.
The release of his Pandemic Diaries coincides with his return to Westminster from Australia after his controversial appearance on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
In it, Mr Hancock records going to Mr Johnson at Downing Street on Thursday 24 June 2021 to tell him that The Sun was about to publish details of his affair.
He said the newspaper accused him of bringing Ms Coladangelo to his department over their affair – which he said was untrue – and of breaching Covid social distancing guidelines.
Mr Johnson replied: “Well you haven’t broken the law. The guidelines are not binding – they are recommendations. So I will stand by you.”
However, over the weekend he realized his position was becoming untenable.
“Privately, I still get positive messages from colleagues. In public, few were willing to defend me. I was increasingly isolated politically,” he wrote.
“I went to Checkers to see the Prime Minister. I explained that I had thought about what had happened and how people had felt about it – and that I had made my decision. The damage to my family and the government was too great.
“I told Boris that I have to resign.”
Mr Hancock also described this farcical scene in the Garden of Checkers – the Prime Minister’s official country residence – as they attempted to film his declaration of resignation.
“In the end, the great state machine was nowhere. It was just me and the PM fiddling around with an iPhone. He was standing on the grass holding the phone while I said my part. It took a few tries to get it right,” he wrote.
“He nodded so much sympathetic encouragement during the first shot that the camera waved up and down. It wasn’t perfect in the end, but I didn’t care: I had to get it out there.”