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Matt Hancock pictured in 'clinch' with married aide Gina Coladangelo, reports say
25 June 2021, 10:26 | Updated: 25 June 2021, 18:44
Matt Hancock was today facing growing questions about his future as Health Secretary after he was pictured in his Whitehall Office kissing married aide Gina Coladangelo.
Mr Hancock, 42, and lobbyist Ms Coladangelo, wife of the founder of Oliver Bonas, were caught on camera in an embrace at his office last month in pictures obtained by The Sun.
Mr Hancock cancelled a public appearance at a vaccine centre today amid a growing storm after the pictures emerged. Downing Street has not commented on the photos.
He was seen kissing Gina, a close friend from their time together at university, at the Department of Health’s London HQ during office hours, the newspaper reported.
Mr Hancock has been married to Martha Hoyer Millar for 15 years and the couple have three children together.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told LBC this morning: "I have seen the photo but, as ever with private matters, I always try to avoid commenting on other people's personal lives and I think I'll stick with that tradition here."
Asked whether the Health Secretary should have been "ignoring social distancing", Mr Shapps replied: "I'm quite sure that whatever the rules were at the time were followed.
"You'll recall that there was a point at which social distancing rules were changed but, as I say, I don't want to comment on somebody else's private life - that is for them."
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tells LBC he has seen a photo of Matt Hancock embracing a colleague but says ”I’m quite sure that whatever the rules were at the time - they were followed."@NickFerrariLBC pic.twitter.com/5gqach00NZ— LBC (@LBC) June 25, 2021
The image was taken just after 3pm on May 6, two weeks before the ban on hugging in England was lifted on May 17.
Gina, 42, is a director at Luther Pendragon, a lobbying firm based in central London. She is also communications director at Oliver Bonas, run by her husband Oliver Tress.
Labour called for Mr Hancock to be sacked. Anneliese Dodds MP, Labour Party chair, said: "If Matt Hancock has been secretly having a relationship with an adviser in his office - who 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."
The Lib Dems also said Mr Hancock "should have been sacked a long time ago for his failures."
Yesterday video was released of the Queen referring to Health Secretary Matt Hancock as "poor man" at a meeting with Boris Johnson.
"I've just been talking to your secretary of state for health, poor man. He came for Privy Council," she told the prime minister.
"He's full of...", she added. "Full of beans?", offered Mr Johnson.
The Queen then told the prime minister that the health secretary "thinks things are getting better," in remarks caught on microphone.
Last week Mr Johnson's former aide Dominic Cummings revealed the PM had described Mr Hancock as "f***ing hopeless" in an exchange on WhatsApp.
A screenshot leaked by Mr Cummings showed Mr Johnson using the expletive in a response to Mr Hancock's performance as Health Secretary on "testing, procurement, PPE, care homes etc."