UK

Matt Hancock left red faced after losing new job at UN hours after taking it

Mr Hancock was set to be appointed as the “UN special representative on financial innovation and climate change for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa”.

However, a UN spokesman has now told the UN news organisation Pass Blue that his appointment has not been “taken forward”.

Mr Hancock had recently taken to Twitter to speak of the honour he had after being appointed.

He tweeted: “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.”

A statement from the United Nations read: “Hancock’s appointment by the UN Economic Commission for Africa is not being taken forward.

“ECA has advised him of the matter.”

Twitter users have been quick to react to the news that Mr Hancock has lost is role at the United Nations.

@Dan_9000 tweeted: “Should never have been offered it in the first place.

“The UN’s due diligence was clearly severely lacking.”

@MapleSpartan tweeted: “Is that a consequence of one’s actions I see? Such a rare thing these days.”

Mr Hancock had recently published a letter from Vera Songwe, the Under-Secretary-General of the UN, online where praised Mr Hancock’s “success” in tackling the UK’s Covid response ahead of his appointment.

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”.

MP Tom Tugendhat, chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, had initially praised the appointment on Twitter as he said 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.”

Reacting to reports that the UN will not take forward Matt Hancock’s appointment as a special representative for the Economic Commission for Africa, Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, said:

“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.”

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