The new health minister is arriving at a pivotal moment for a department with huge future claims on the Treasury
Thirteen months ago, Dominic Cummings faced an avalanche of demands to resign after being caught in an egregious breach of the Covid lockdown regulations. Although Cummings had clearly broken rules that he had helped to draw up, and public opinion was against him, he survived – albeit for only a few months – because Boris Johnson stood behind him.
This weekend, Matt Hancock also had Johnson’s backing. Hancock had also clearly broken his own Covid rules, and faced a hostile media and negative opinion polls. But now Hancock has gone, to be replaced as health secretary by the former chancellor Sajid Javid. This time Johnson’s support was not enough.