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Boris Johnson was facing an overwhelming clamour to sack Matt Hancock on Friday night

Boris Johnson was facing an overwhelming clamour to sack Matt Hancock on Friday night

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The description of Boris Johnson was facing an overwhelming clamour to sack Matt Hancock on Friday night
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Boris Johnson was facing an overwhelming clamour to sack Matt Hancock on Friday night.

The Health Secretary sensationally admitted breaking lockdown rules after being pictured in footage of a clinch with an aide at work.

Despite championing draconian restrictions on ordinary citizens, he kissed and embraced Gina Coladangelo on May 6 – eleven days before the ban on hugging was lifted.

Both are married with three children.

Mr Hancock had put Miss Coladangelo, a friend from university, on the public payroll only last year. He made no comment on claims he was having an affair with the 43-year-old but added: ‘I have let people down and am very sorry.’

Astonishingly, however, he refused to resign and, after crisis talks in No 10, the Prime Minister personally backed him to stay on and said he ‘considered the matter closed’.

The decision prompted fury last night across the political spectrum, among members of the public and even from business leaders enraged by the Health Secretary’s hypocrisy. 

Tory whips were bombarded with complaints from their MPs.

A Savanta ComRes snap poll found the public wanted Mr Hancock to quit by a margin of 58 to 25.

A separate YouGov survey had the margin at 49 to 25.

Support for the 42-year-old was ebbing even in Downing Street, with one senior figure saying his conduct was ‘gross’ and describing the apology he offered yesterday as ‘pathetic’.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: ‘It will all be down to public opinion – it’s the only thing No 10 cares about.

They’re polling, focus-grouping all the time and if that starts showing the public want him out then he could be gone by Monday.’ 

Another Conservative MP said: ‘It’s getting like Animal Farm: all animals are equal but some are more equal than others.’

Sayeeda Warsi, a former Conservative Party chairman, attacked the failure to sack Mr Hancock, saying: ‘It’s a bad decision by Matt and a bad decision by the PM.

‘He’s got a huge amount of questions to answer in relation to Covid contracts, access to parliament, giving out jobs.

Is there anything anybody could do any more which would make them resign?’ 

Hannah Brady, of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, said: ‘Hancock has treated bereaved families with contempt. He’s got to go.’ In a letter to Mr Johnson the campaign group said that Mr Hancock’s continuing presence in the Cabinet was ‘an embarrassment to the Government’.

Labour also called for the Health Secretary to go and branded the Prime Minister ‘spineless’ for failing to sack him.

Party chairman Anneliese Dodds said: ‘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.’ 

On an extraordinary day:

  • Mr Hancock was accused of breaking the ministerial code, which calls for ‘proper and appropriate’ working relationships;
  • Downing Street refused to comment on whether he had broken the law as well as social distancing guidance;
  • Mr Johnson was said to be considering moving Mr Hancock to a low-profile role;
  • Tory MPs stepped up calls for the scrapping of ‘authoritarian’ lockdown rules promoted by Mr Hancock;
  • Ministers faced questions about the role played by Miss Coladangelo, a millionaire former lobbyist married to the founder of the Oliver Bonas retail chain;
  • An investigation was launched into how security camera footage of Mr Hancock kissing Miss Coladangelo in his office was leaked to The Sun;
  • Mr Hancock’s wife Martha declined to comment, amid Whitehall rumours that she had thrown him out of the family home;
  • Scientists suggested Mr Hancock’s conduct could undermine compliance with remaining Covid restrictions;
  • Former top aide Dominic Cummings stepped up his attacks on Mr Hancock, saying his ‘negligence’ during the pandemic had ‘killed people’.
This is the image that has left Matt Hancock fighting for his job today that appears to show him kissing his millionaire aide - who is on the public payroll - in the corridor outside his office in May this year

This is the image that has left Matt Hancock fighting for his job today that appears to show him kissing his millionaire aide - who is on the public payroll - in the corridor outside his office in May this year

This is the image that has left Matt Hancock fighting for his job today that appears to show him kissing his millionaire aide – who is on the public payroll – in the corridor outside his office in May this year

Mr Hancock said sorry for breaking social distancing and asked for 'privacy' for his family, but refused to resign as Health Secretary

Mr Hancock said sorry for breaking social distancing and asked for 'privacy' for his family, but refused to resign as Health Secretary

Mr Hancock said sorry for breaking social distancing and asked for ‘privacy’ for his family, but refused to resign as Health Secretary

There was no on-camera apology to the public from the Health Secretary yesterday despite questions over whether he had lost his focus on the pandemic.

When Neil Ferguson, a key government adviser, resigned for breaching lockdown rules last year, Mr Hancock said he was right to go and the police should investigate.

Last September Mr Hancock told people not to start romantic relationships because of the risk it could spread Covid.

And on May 16, ten days after his clinch with Miss Coladangelo, he said people should be ‘careful’ about the new freedom to hug – and suggested they should do so only outside with people who had been fully vaccinated.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Munira Wilson said: ‘Matt Hancock is a terrible Health Secretary and should have been sacked a long time ago for his failures.

‘This latest episode of hypocrisy will break the trust with the British public.

He was telling families not to hug loved ones, while doing whatever he liked in the workplace.

‘Rules for them and rules for us is no way to run a country.’

Mystery surrounds the recruitment of Miss Coladangelo, who met Mr Hancock while volunteering at the student radio station at Oxford University in the 1990s.

She worked on Mr Hancock’s failed Tory leadership campaign in 2019 and was secretly taken on as an unpaid adviser at the Department of Health last year before being made a non-executive director on a £15,000 contract.

A Tory source said the pair had become inseparable, adding: ‘They always appeared to be incredibly close.

Her status was always slightly mysterious but she went everywhere with him. She was in every meeting.’

The Health Secretary was grilled about his conduct by senior figures from the Cabinet Office’s propriety and ethics team before Mr Johnson decided he would stand by him.

The Prime Minister, who was sacked by Michael Howard for lying about an extramarital affair, is said to have been reluctant to hand the media a scalp.

Downing Street refused to comment yesterday on whether Mr Hancock had offered his resignation at any point.

The episode echoes the infamous lockdown-busting trip to Durham made by Mr Cummings last year.

Paul Charles, founder of The PC Agency, a travel consultancy, said: ‘Most people in the country will be asking themselves why they should listen to advice on travel and social distancing when the Health Secretary isn’t even following the rules.

The sector has been so badly hit, it’s even more galling now to see ministers in such positions.

‘Most people will be questioning whether Matt Hancock has any position of authority.’

In its letter to the Prime Minister, Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice said: ‘If Matt Hancock is unable to find the decency to do the right thing and resign his position it is paramount that you relieve him from it.’

A heartbroken Martha Hancock walks the couple's dog near their north London home today as he husband admitted he had 'let people down' but refused to quit

A heartbroken Martha Hancock walks the couple's dog near their north London home today as he husband admitted he had 'let people down' but refused to quit

A heartbroken Martha Hancock walks the couple’s dog near their north London home today as he husband admitted he had ‘let people down’ but refused

The Health Secretary, 42, has been seen having a passionate clinch with millionaire lobbyist Gina Coladangelo (pictured here with Matt Hancock outside Downing Street in May), according to The Sun

The Health Secretary, 42, has been seen having a passionate clinch with millionaire lobbyist Gina Coladangelo (pictured here with Matt Hancock outside Downing Street in May), according to The Sun

The Health Secretary, 42, has been seen having a passionate clinch with millionaire lobbyist Gina Coladangelo (pictured here with Matt Hancock outside Downing Street in May), according to The Sun 

Martha Hancock leaves the couple's north London home this morning after claims that her husband has been  having a secret affair. She didn't comment

Martha Hancock leaves the couple's north London home this morning after claims that her husband has been  having a secret affair. She didn't comment

Martha Hancock looked sad and upset as she left the couple's north London home this morning after claims that her husband has been having a secret affair. She didn't comment

Martha Hancock looked sad and upset as she left the couple's north London home this morning after claims that her husband has been having a secret affair. She didn't comment

Martha Hancock looked sad and upset as she left the couple’s north London home this morning after claims that her husband has been  having a secret affair.

She didn’t comment

The Hancocks - who met while they were both students at Oxford University - split their time between London and West Suffolk, the constituency he represents. While his farmhouse (pictured) was closed up today, locals hit out at the hypocrisy of married Mr Hancock being caught in a steamy clinch with Mrs Coladangelo

The Hancocks - who met while they were both students at Oxford University - split their time between London and West Suffolk, the constituency he represents. While his farmhouse (pictured) was closed up today, locals hit out at the hypocrisy of married Mr Hancock being caught in a steamy clinch with Mrs Coladangelo

The Hancocks – who met while they were both students at Oxford University – split their time between London and West Suffolk, the constituency he represents.

While his farmhouse (pictured) was closed up today, locals hit out at the hypocrisy of married Mr Hancock being caught in a steamy clinch with Mrs Coladangelo

As Downing Street made its first comments it confirmed suspicions that Boris Johnson would not sack his Health Secretary given his own chequered love life, especially after his own alleged four-year affair with American pole-dancing businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri, who he employed as an advisor while Mayor of London. 

Mr Hancock’s kiss with Ms Coladangelo, a mother-of-three whose husband Oliver Tress is the founder of clothing shop Oliver Bonas, is alleged to have taken place in the corridor outside his office at the Department for Health’s headquarters in central London at around 3pm on May 6 this year – the day of the UK local elections and a week after his first coronavirus jab.  

Mr Hancock is said to have checked the corridor is clear before closing the door, leaning on it to stop it opening before launching into their passionate embrace.

 claims they have been having an affair that has been the talk of the department – but it is not known if they remain in a relationship that was a secret until today.  

He married Martha, 44, daftar joker123 terpercaya in 2006 and the couple have three children together.

Mrs Hancock looked sad and upset as she left the couple’s home but didn’t speak to reporters about her husband’s alleged infidelity.  Her husband was nowhere to be seen, however, she was still wearing her wedding ring.    

The shutters were closed at the £4.5million South London home Mrs Coladangelo shares with Oliver Tress and their three children today.

They are also believed to have a country home near the West Sussex coast. She has been working as an advisor for Mr Hancock since last year, with one source saying: ‘Before Matt does anything big, he’ll speak to Gina’.

But they first met at Oxford University 25 years ago at their college’s radio station and Mrs Coladangelo is friends with Matt Hancock’s wife on Facebook and they have spent time together socially.  

Mr Hancock has been married for 15 years to wife Martha, with whom he has three children

Mr Hancock has been married for 15 years to wife Martha, with whom he has three children

Mr Hancock has been married for 15 years to wife Martha, with whom he has three children

Mrs Coladangelo (pictured here with husband Oliver Tress - the founder of the Oliver Bonas clothing chain), who is a director and shareholder at lobbying firm Luther Pendragon, was appointed to the Department of Health as an unpaid adviser in March last year

Mrs Coladangelo (pictured here with husband Oliver Tress - the founder of the Oliver Bonas clothing chain), who is a director and shareholder at lobbying firm Luther Pendragon, was appointed to the Department of Health as an unpaid adviser in March last year

Mrs Coladangelo (pictured in 2012) was appointed as a non-executive director at the department in September, meaning she is a member of the board

Mrs Coladangelo (pictured in 2012) was appointed as a non-executive director at the department in September, meaning she is a member of the board

Mrs Coladangelo (pictured here with husband Oliver Tress – the founder of the Oliver Bonas clothing chain), who is a director and shareholder at lobbying firm Luther Pendragon

Matt Hancock smiles and laughs at his alleged lover as they leave the BBC after appearing on the Marr show in June

Matt Hancock smiles and laughs at his alleged lover as they leave the BBC after appearing on the Marr show in June

Matt Hancock smiles and laughs at his alleged lover as they leave the BBC after appearing on the Marr show in June

<div class="art-ins mol-factbox news halfRHS" data-version="2" id="mol-0888d880-d553-11eb-a6b4-ed4627b0fb5f" website grows on Boris Johnson to sack Matt Hancock

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