Inside Matt Hancock’s new job – Has the former Health Secretary been promoted?

Matt Hancock's 'hypocrisy' slammed by GB News' Brazier

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After his shock exit from Downing Street, Boris Johnson’s former health sectary Matt Hancock has been appointed as “UN special representative on financial innovation and climate change for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa”. Mr Hancock announced the news of his new role on Twitter, saying it would allow him to focus on helping Africa’s economy to recover from the pandemic.

He wrote: “Honoured to be appointed United Nations Special Representative.

“I’ll be working with the UN and UN Economic Commission for Africa to help African economic recovery from the pandemic and promote sustainable development.”

Mr Hancock will continue to work as a Conservative MP while he carries out this unpaid role.

His appointment comes after a damning Covid report by MPs criticised the Government’s early handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why has Matt Hancock been given this new role?

Mr Hancock’s exit from the heart of Government was marred in controversy.

Four months he was forced to step down from his cabinet position after breaking his own social distancing guidelines.

The Sun published footage of him kissing a former aide Gina Coladangelo.

The announcement also came on the day a cross-party committee of MPs published a damning report into the Government’s handling of the pandemic.

The report criticised the UK’s Covid strategy when Matt Hancock was at the helm of the Department of Health.

The report found that the Government’s early failings in the pandemic was “one of the country’s worst public health failures.”

It condemned the Government’s decision to delay locking down and its initial strategy of herd immunity.

The report found this led to avoidable deaths and unnecessary strain on the NHS.

But in a letter, which Mr Hancock later published online Vera Songwe, the Under-Secretary-General of the UN, praised Mr Hancock’s “success” in tackling the UK’s Covid response,

Ms Songwe said: “[The] acceleration of vaccines that has led the UK move faster towards economic recovery is one testament to the strengths that you will bring to this role, together with your fiscal and monetary experience”.

She wrote to Mr Hancock that she wanted to appoint him “given your global leadership, advocacy reach and in-depth understanding of government processes through your various ministerial cabinet roles”.

She added: “The role will support Africa’s cause at the global level and ensure the continent builds forward better, leveraging financial innovations and working with major stakeholders like the G20, UK government and COP26.”

African countries face paying more than £300bn to recover from the Covid pandemic, according to the UN.

MP Tom Tugendhat, chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, wrote on Twitter that it was a “fascinating and important appointment”.

He added: “Boosting the economies of Africa is one of the most essential tasks of this generation.”

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