‘Matt finished’: front pages deliver final humiliation to departing Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock’s resignation as health secretary following a “day of humilation” over his relationship with Gina Coladangelo provides an old-fashioned bonanza for the Sunday’s papers.

The Sun on Sunday, whose sister daily paper broke the story of Hancock’s clinch with his former aide, has the headline “Matt finished”.

The Sunday Mirror has the same headline – “Matt finished” – and reports that while Hancock “fell on his sword”, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says Boris Johnson should have acted first and sacked his embattled health secretary.

The Observer’s splash headline reads “Gone: Hancock quits after day of humiliation” and it reports that Conservative party grassroots activists “defied” the prime minister by demanding that Hancock had to quit. It also says that Johnson’s refusal to sack Hancock will weaken his authority.

The H-word also features in the Sunday Times’s main headline, which reads “Humiliated Hancock quits”. Its columnist, Camilla Long, is scathing about Hancock, saying we should be angry about the decline in standards in public office and Johnson’s refusal to sack his minister. “I bet Hancock was thinking he could never be sacked … because we have a prime minister who exerts almost no moral authority over anyone,” she writes.

The Sunday Telegraph says Tory MPs were breaking ranks and calling for Hancock to go before he jumped. But its headline is a little bit straighter and uses the exiting minister’s own words: “Hancock quits: ‘Those of us who made these rules have got to stick by them’”.

The Sunday Express, another strongly pro-government paper, also takes a more sympathetic tone with “Hancock forced to quit”. It also quotes Hancock’s mini apologia about following the rules prominently on the front.

The Mail on Sunday doesn’t spare his blushes, however, with a splash headline reading “Hancock quits his jobs – and marriage”. It says friends have said Hancock is “in love” with his former aide and also notes that Sajid Javid is making a “dramatic comeback” to cabinet as the new health secretary.

The People channels Dominic Cumming’s savage criticism of Hancock to MPs last month with its headline “Hopeless & jobless”. The Star on Sunday is also in triumphal mood with its coverage of a man it long ago dubbed “Coco the Clown” for his handling of the pandemic. “Tears of a clown”, it says.

And the Sunday Mail in Scotland has the headline to wrap things up nicely: “Matt’s all, folks”.


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