'I want forgiveness': Hancock admits 'error' of kissing Gina under Covid rules but stands by pandemic response

2 December 2022, 17:39

Matt Hancock has said sorry for kissing his aide during Covid rules
Matt Hancock has said sorry for kissing his aide during Covid rules. Picture: Sun/Shutterstock

By Will Taylor

Matt Hancock wants "forgiveness" for breaking Covid rules he put together when he kissed an aide and began an affair with her.

The ex-health secretary and I'm A Celebrity contestant said he wants the public to recognise it as "human error".

Mr Hancock is trying to rehabilitate his public image with a series of reality show appearances and is releasing a book called the Pandemic Diaries, which is his response to the heavy criticism he received about his time overseeing the lockdowns and pandemic response.

He lost his job last year after he was caught on CCTV kissing Gina Coladangelo – with both being married at the time – that broke social distancing rules advised by the Government. He was greeted with a wave of public outcry at the time.

"I want forgiveness for the mistake I made, the failure of leadership at the end of the pandemic when I fell in love with Gina and I broke the guidance that I'd signed off,” he said, days after coming third in the jungle.

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"I want forgiveness for the human error I made... but I'm not asking for forgiveness for how I handled the pandemic.

"I woke up every single morning determined to do the very best I could in the most impossible circumstances until I needed to go to bed at night. I did that for 18 months.

Matt Hancock was caught kissing Gina Coladangelo despite his own social distancing rules
Matt Hancock was caught kissing Gina Coladangelo despite his own social distancing rules. Picture: Sun

"There is a good, honest explanation for every single decision I made, whether it turned out to be right or not.

"I don't seek forgiveness for falling in love with Gina because I love her very deeply."

Mr Hancock said he had followed the rules until the kiss, but that he takes responsibility for what he did.

Fresh out of I'm A Celebrity – a show that he has lost the Tory whip over, after criticism of him flying to Australia while Parliament was sitting – he said he was surprised when he and Ms Coladangelo realised their feelings for each other when they began the affair.

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They were both married and realised they had feelings for each other when she called him first after a medical appointment.

"We realised what was happening was of huge consequence that would last for the rest of our lives but... this was an affaire de coeur and therefore my political judgement was off," he told the Mail.

"It's been absolutely horrific, especially for Gina. I've had an absolute bucket of s*** poured over my head."

The couple embraced after he left the jungle in I'm A Celebrity
The couple embraced after he left the jungle in I'm A Celebrity. Picture: Shutterstock

He is trying to fight back against an avalanche of attacks levied against him over how he reacted to Covid.

Among his most vocal opponents is Dominic Cummings, the former adviser to Boris Johnson who repeatedly said Mr Hancock ought to have been sacked.

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