Former health secretary Matt Hancock has announced his comeback as a United Nations special representative to Africa.

Hancock said he was "honoured" to have been given the role, adding on Twitter : “ I 'll be working with the UN, the UN Economic Commission for Africa to help African economic recovery from the pandemic and promote sustainable development. ” It comes four months after he resigned from his Cabinet role for breaking social distancing rules by kissing and embracing an aide in his office.

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

"Your success on the United Kingdom's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the acceleration of vaccines that has led the UK 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."

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."

nick dearden, director of global justice now, part of the people's vaccine alliance demanding global vaccine equity, added : "matt hancock helped to block international efforts to allow low and middle-income countries to produce their own covid-19 vaccines, leading to millions of deaths in the global south.

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

Matt Hancock, the former Health Secretary (Image: GETTY)

Hancock's appointment, which will be unpaid, comes as a damning report from MPs was published on how errors and delays by the UK government and scientific advisers cost lives during the pandemic.

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".

Matt Hancock pictured when Health Secretary (Image: GETTY)

The pictures were reportedly taken inside the Department of Health and Social Care on May 6.

After the pictures were published, several Tory MPs, plus Labour and the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group, called for Mr Hancock to go, pointing to his failure to observe social distancing rules in force at the time.

mr hancock's new role will be unpaid.

The response, which only yesterday – lest we forget, the very same day that Hancock announced his whizzy new job – was described by a parliamentary report as, "one of the most important public health failures the UK has ever experienced".

UK coronavirus figures live (Image: Express)

Put into this sort of context, it is easy to see why the United Nations would want to get Hancock on board.

Mr Hancock, who resigned as health secretary in June after his affair with an aide was revealed, posted a letter from Vera Songwe, under-secretary general of the UN, asking him to be the special representative.

The UN was, we learn, impressed by Hancock's "global leadership, advocacy reach and in-depth understanding of government process".

"It is critical that we seize this moment to ensure Africa can both strengthen its economic recovery and the sustainability of its development," he added.

Matt Hancock and Gina Coladangelo in May (Image: Reuters)

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