The Sun revealed last night that the Health Secretary cheated on his wife with Gina Coladangelo, 43, who he hired last year with taxpayers’ money as Covid gripped Britain.
Matt Hancock, 42, and millionaire lobbyist Ms Coladangelo were caught on camera in a steamy clinch at his Whitehall office. Whistleblowers revealed the Health Secretary had been spotted cheating on his wife of 15 years with married Ms Coladangelo. Mr Hancock and his wife Martha have three children together.
Hancock and Ms Coladangelo were seen kissing at the Department of Health’s London HQ during office hours last month as the mutant strain began spreading.
Labour has called on Boris Johnson to sack Matt Hancock amid reports of an extra-marital affair with a close aide.
It said that if the health secretary had been “secretly having a relationship” with Gina Coladangelo – whom he appointed – this would be a “blatant abuse of power”.
But Mr Hancock’s colleagues rallied around him, calling allegations of an affair “a personal matter”.
The Sun published pictures of Mr Hancock and Ms Coladangelo kissing.
It said these had been taken in the Department of Health offices in May this year. Coladangelo, who has known the health secretary since they were at Oxford University together, was made a non-executive director of the Department of Health last September. The role comes with a £15,000 salary and involves 15-to-20 days of work per year.
Labour Party Reaction
But Labour Party chairwoman Annaliese Dodds said: “If Matt Hancock has been secretly having a relationship with an adviser in his office – whom he personally appointed to a taxpayer-funded role – it is a blatant abuse of power and a clear conflict of interest.
“The charge sheet against Matt Hancock includes wasting taxpayers’ money, leaving care homes exposed and now being accused of breaking his own Covid rules. His position is hopelessly untenable. Boris Johnson should sack him.”
Matt Hancock Apology
British health minister Matt Hancock apologised on Friday and accepted he had breached social-distancing guidance after a tabloid newspaper published a picture of him kissing and embracing his top aide in his office.
“I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances. I have let people down and am very sorry,” he said in a statement.
“I remain focused on working to get the country out of this pandemic, and would be grateful for privacy for my family on this personal matter.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has accepted an apology from Health Minister Matt Hancock and has full confidence in him, Johnson’s spokesman said on Friday after picture of Hancock kissing an aide were published.
Hancock said he was “very sorry” after pictures of him kissing and embracing his top aide, a friend hired last year, were splashed on the front page of the Sun newspaper.
“The prime minister has accepted the health secretary’s apology and considers the matter closed,” the spokesman said. Asked if Johnson had full confidence in Hancock, the spokesman said “Yes”.
The spokesman refused to answer questions about how the footage had been obtained, or whether it was right for Hancock to remain in post having admitted to breaking COVID-19 guidelines.
Who is Gina Coladangelo?
Gina Coladangelo, 43, is married to Oliver Bonas founder Oliver Tress and Mr Hancock’s wife of 15 years, Martha, is an osteopath.
Coladangelo was given her role as non-executive director at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHCS) last September, with a salary believed to be of at least £15,000 a year and having scrutiny over its running.
She is also communications director at fashion and homeware shop Oliver Bonas, which was founded by her husband Oliver Tress. Coladangelo worked at lobbying firm Luther Pendragon until 2014 and was a director at the company until 2017.
Hancock and Ms Coladangelo met while studying at Oxford University and have remained “close friends” ever since. Two unnamed sources told The Sunday Times in November said that Hancock turned to his PR expert friend regularly for advice.
One source said: “Before Matt does anything big, he’ll speak to Gina. She knows everything.” Another added: “She has access to lots of confidential information.”
Hancock and Ms Coladangelo appear to have been close since their university days.
In spring 2020, just as the country went into lockdown, Coladangelo was appointed as an unpaid adviser on a six-month contract at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
A snap poll from Savanta ComRes, released hours after photographs of the pair kissing in Mr Hancock’s ministerial office surfaced, found 58% of UK adults thought that the health secretary should resign, compared to 25% who thought he should not.