Disgraced former minister Matt Hancock’s job offer at the United Nations has been withdrawn following uproar surrounding his appointment as an adviser to African nations.
The shamed ex-Health Secretary, who stepped down after his affair with aide Gina Coladaneglo in June, was told his appointment was ‘not being taken forward’ in an embarrassing climbdown for all involved.
The unpaid job offer was revoked on a technicality just days after it was offered, following stinging criticism by leading figures across Africa and UK opposition parties.
Mr Hancock, 42, had planned to balance his roles as a Tory backbencher while working with the international aid giant, after he was offered the role by General Vera Songwe for his ‘success’ in handling the UK’s pandemic response.
But on Friday, a UN spokesman confirmed that Mr Hancock’s appointment was not going to be ‘taken forward’.
Mr Hancock, who will remain an MP, was forced to resign as health secretary in disgrace in June after was caught breaching his own department’s social distancing guidance while in a steamy embrace with his aide, Gina Coladangelo.
CCTV images showed Mr Hancock kissing Ms Coladangelo, who were both married, in his office in the Department for Health and Social Care.
Matt Hancock (pictured) was supposed to help the continent’s economies bounce back following the coronavirus pandemic
Hancock was handed the United Nations role just four months after resigning from his government post (pictured: Hancock walks with his former aide and lover Gina Coladangelo). It has now been withdrawn
Hancock tweeted his reaction to being given the new role, which came just months after he resigned as Health Secretary
MailOnline understands Mr Hancock controversially won the role thanks to Nimko Ali, a campaigner against female genital mutilation who is a close friend of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie.
Mr Hancock, who was forced into an embarrassing resignation after leaked CCTV showed him locked in a steamy embrace with aide Gina Coladangelo in June, has stepped back into the limelight in recent weeks following an interview with the Mail.
The jaw-dropping footage was taken on May 6 – less than a fortnight before the Government relaxed safety rules including giving permission to hug.
The father-of-three ended his 15-year marriage to wife Martha and has pursued a relationship Ms Coladangelo, a former university friend who was also married with three children.
The pair, who met while studying at Oxford University, have been pictured together at public gatherings for nearly two years, with one image dating back to the Conservative Party Conference in September 2019.
In his resignation letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Hancock said ministers ‘owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down’.
Mr Hancock previously said he was honoured to become UN Special Representative on Financial Innovation and Climate Change.
The former Bank of England economist was told he had been awarded his new role ‘based on his economic policy expertise’ as well as his ‘in-depth understanding of government’.
He said: ‘I’m thrilled to be joining the UN Economic Commission for Africa in its impressive efforts to support Africa strengthen its economic recovery from the pandemic and the sustainability of its development.
‘I care deeply about making this happen… we share a view of Africa as a strategic long-term partner.’
Mr Hancock was congratulated on his short-lived appointment by ex-colleagues, including Liz Truss, Michael Gove and Nadine Dorries.
Hancock also shared a snap of his acceptance letter for the role of UN Special Representative on Financial Innovation and Climate Change
The father of three ended his 15-year marriage to wife Martha and has pursued a relationship Miss Coladangelo, a former university friend who was also married with three children
His duties would have included encouraging investment in sustainable economic development working alongside organisations including the IMF and G20.
The UN said he would also be involved at the COP26 climate change conference being hosted in Glasgow in three weeks.
Dr Vera Songwe, the UN Under-Secretary General who made the appointment, said: ‘His expertise and leadership will offer immediate and long-term impact.’
In a letter to Mr Hancock that he posted on Twitter, she added: ‘Your success on the UK’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the acceleration of vaccines that has led the UK [to] move faster toward economic recovery is one testament to the strengths that you will bring to this role, together with your fiscal and monetary experience.’
Mr Hancock was introduced to Dr Songwe by Miss Ali, who is a Government adviser on tackling violence against women and girls.
The withdrawal of Mr Hancock’s job offer with the UN was welcomed by campaigning group Global Justice Now.
The group’s director, Nick Dearden, told MailOnline: ‘It is right for the UN to reconsider this appointment.
‘If Matt Hancock wants to help African countries recover from the pandemic, he should lobby the prime minister to back a patent waiver on Covid-19 vaccines.
‘If he’d done that when he was in government, tens of millions more people could already have been vaccinated.
‘The last thing the African continent needs is a failed British politician. This isn’t the 19th century.’