FORMER Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been given a new role with the United Nations.

The Tory MP announced on Twitter on Tuesday evening that he will now be appointed as a special representative to the United Nations in a role which will see him focus on helping African countries recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Writing on Twitter, Matt Hancock said he was ‘honoured’ to be given the role.

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

In his acceptance letter which he also added to Twitter, he said: “As we recover from the pandemic so we must take this moment to ensure Africa can prosper.

"At the same time, growth must be sustainable as Africa faces sharp end of the challenges of climate change.

“It is critical that we seize this moment to ensure African can both strengthen its economic recovery and the sustainability of its development.”



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The new role comes four months after he resigned from his Cabinet role for breaking social distancing rules by kissing and embracing an aide in his office, as CCTV footage of the incident went viral. However, the Conservative MP will not be paid in this new job.

According to the UN, African countries face paying more than £300 billion to recover from the pandemic.

With the announcement, former cabinet colleagues of Mr Hancock have also rushed to social media to congratulate him.

Michael Gove wrote: “Wishing Matt Hancock well in this critical role supporting the developing world at a crucial time.”



The under-secretary-general of the UN, Vera Songwe, said Mr Hancock’s “success” in handling the UK’s pandemic response is a testament to the strengths he will bring to the role.

In a letter posted on Twitter by Mr Hancock, Ms Songwe said: “The acceleration of vaccines that has led the UK to 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.

“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.”

On top of the ‘kissing scandal’ in June the former health secretary’s appointment as a special representative for the UN comes as a damning report from MPs was published on how errors and delays by the Government and scientific advisers cost lives during the pandemic.

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The study, from the cross-party Science and Technology Committee and the Health and Social Care Committee, said the UK’s preparation for a pandemic was far too focused on flu, while ministers waited too long to push through lockdown measures in early 2020.

In a wide-ranging report, MPs said the UK’s planning was too “narrowly and inflexibly based on a flu model” that failed to learn the lessons from Sars, Mers and Ebola.

Former chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies told MPs there was “groupthink”, with infectious disease experts not believing that “Sars, or another Sars, would get from Asia to us”.