ENGLAND’S disgraced former health secretary Matt Hancock will not be made a UN special representative to aid African economic recovery - despite having previously announced the appointment.

On October 12, the Tory MP tweeted correspondence between himself and Vera Songwe, the Under Secretary-General at the head of the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

In it, Songwe asked Hancock to accept an invitation to become a UN special representative to “support Africa’s cause at the global level”.

In a letter dated October 7, Hancock replied to say he would be "honoured to accept the appointment".

The news was greeted with derision by many, with the campaign group Global Justice Now writing: “Matt Hancock blocked international efforts to allow low and middle income countries to produce their own Covid-19 vaccines, leading to millions of global south deaths.

“The audacity of this man claiming to help African nations and promote sustainable development is sickening.”

On the same day (October 12) a report was published which found that the early stages of Britain’s handling of the pandemic - at which time Hancock was health secretary - ranked as “one of the most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced”.

However, many of Hancock’s colleagues came out in support of the appointment, with the Tory MP retweeting praise from Liz Truss, Sajid Javid, and Michael Gove, among others.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries wrote that she “was witness to his global leadership from day one of the pandemic".

“There are few people around who understand the complexities ... of Covid through the prism of management and political recovery. Fantastic appointment," she added.

Yesterday, a UN spokesperson announced that Hancock’s role with the ECA would not be taken forward. They added that the ECA had “advised him of the matter”.

Global Justice Now welcomed the withdrawal of the offer.

The group's director, Nick Dearden, said: "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."

In a statement, Hancock said that he had been ditched from the UN role due to a "technical UN rule" that means sitting MPs cannot also be special representatives.

He added: "Since I am committed to continuing to serve as MP for West Suffolk, this means I cannot take up the position."

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