Matt Hancock apologised for breaching “social distancing guidance” after pictures emerged allegedly showing the married health secretary groping and kissing his female aide.
On Friday, The Sun reported CCTV footage of the 42-year-old married father of three kissing 43-year-old Gina Coladangelo, also married and a mother of three, in the health secretary’s office at the Department of Health last month.
Ms Coladangelo had been hired by the government during the height of the pandemic, and the Whitehall source told the tabloid that it was “shocking that Mr Hancock was having an affair in the middle of a pandemic with an adviser and friend he used public money to hire”.
— The Sun (@TheSun) June 25, 2021
The whistleblower, who used to work at the Department of Health, said that the pair were often caught together, adding: “It has also shocked people because he put her in such an important, publicly-funded role and this is what they get up to in office hours when everyone else is working hard.”
Speaking Friday Afternoon, Hancock appeared to acknowledge the footage was real as he apologised for breaking “social distancing guidance” — not admitting to breaking any lockdown laws.
He said: “I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances. I have let people down and am very sorry.”
Suggesting he will refuse to resign, however, Hancock added: “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.”
The footage was reportedly taken on May 6th, when Britons were ordered to stay two metres (six feet) apart and avoid “face to face contact” and gatherings of different households was still against the law.
Both Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs have called for Hancock to resign and but Boris Johnson is standing by his health minister — who the prime minister had allegedly once called “totally f*****g useless” — with a spokesman saying: “The Prime Minister has accepted the Health Secretary’s apology and considers the matter closed.”
Number 10 Downing Street has not clarified whether Mr Hancock had broken lockdown laws.
UK PM's Ex-Chief Adviser: 'Many' Senior People Wanted 'Lying' Health Secretary Fired for Covid Response https://t.co/EFxqnayfpe
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 26, 2021
The health secretary had been adamant that Britons follow strict social distancing rules throughout the pandemic, even suggesting that during relaxed lockdown rules over Christmas that relatives should not hug one another.
Ten days after the footage was allegedly taken, Handcock had even told Britons to be “careful” hugging each other outside.
“Of course there are people who have been yearning to have some physical contact. You should do that carefully. If you’ve had both jabs more than two weeks ago, that’s much safer,” Hancock had said at the time.
The health secretary was also indignant when it was revealed that a senior scientific advisor, Profession Neil Ferguson, had likewise had his sexual affair exposed which also breached lockdown rules last year.
A main architect of the lockdown strategy, Professor Ferguson, married, was found to have twice allowed Antonia Staats, a married mother, to travel to his home despite her family being under quarantine. He resigned his post in May 2020 but has since cropped up again to advise the government on its coronavirus strategy.
At the time, Matt Hancock had described Ferguson’s actions as “extraordinary”, saying he was left “speechless” and that the police should consider whether it should take action against the epidemiologist. The health secretary also agreed with Ferguson’s resignation, saying that it was “just not possible” for him to continue in his role advising the government.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock appeared to suggest that people who refuse to get the vaccine may be banned from using the National Health Service. This is excellent news for at least two good reasons… https://t.co/z5PKLqknqR
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 18, 2021