Met Police won't investigate Hancock over alleged Covid breach after he kissed aide

25 June 2021, 23:34 | Updated: 25 June 2021, 23:58

Matt Hancock walking with Gina Coladangelo during the 2019 Tory Party conference
Matt Hancock walking with Gina Coladangelo during the 2019 Tory Party conference. Picture: Getty
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Matt Hancock will not be investigated for any alleged breaches of Covid regulations after he was pictured kissing an aide, the Metropolitan Police has said.

The married health secretary admitted he broke social distancing guidelines but defied calls to step down after images emerged of him kissing also-married senior adviser Gina Coladangelo in his Whitehall office on 6 May.

Mr Hancock, 42, admitted he had "let people down" and is "very sorry" but stressed he remained "focused on working to get the country out of this pandemic".

The senior Cabinet minister 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.

A statement from the Met said the force was "aware of the distribution of images alleged to have been obtained within an official Government premises".

Hancock: 'I'm very sorry, I broke social distancing rules' over pictures of kiss with aide

Read more: PM 'considers matter closed' after Hancock apologises for kissing aide

It added: "No criminal investigation has been launched. At this time this remains a matter for the relevant Government department."

On whether Mr Hancock could be investigated, the force said: "Where the Met receives allegations of breaches of the Health Protection Regulations 2020, we will focus on those that are live, or where police action can enable a change to behaviour that is posing a current public health risk.

"As a matter of course the MPS is not investigating Covid related issues retrospectively."

Later on Friday, The Sun released a new image of the pair allegedly at a "dinner date" and published the video from which the screenshot of their kiss was taken.

Watch: 'Hancock's unsackable': James O'Brien reacts to pictures of him kissing aide

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The health secretary cancelled a public appearance at a vaccine centre earlier in the day amid a growing storm after the pictures emerged.

Boris Johnson later said he had accepted Mr Hancock's apology and now considered the matter "closed".

He was seen kissing his aide, a close friend from their time together at university, at the Department of Health’s London HQ during office hours, the Sun reported.

Mr Hancock has been married to Martha Hoyer Millar for 15 years and the couple have three children together.

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."

Mr Hancock has faced a difficult week, after leaked messages from the PM's ex-adviser Dominic Cummings claimed to show Mr Johnson calling him "f***ing hopeless".

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told LBC on Friday 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."