MATT Hancock has resigned as Health Secretary after he was caught cheating on his wife with a married woman and breaking COVID-19 restrictions by kissing and embracing a tax-payer funded aide in his office.
Downing Street on Saturday published Mr Hancock’s resignation letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the prime minister’s response, in which he said he was sorry to receive it.
“We have worked so hard as a country to fight the pandemic,” Hancock said in the letter.
“The last thing I would want is for my private life to distract attention from the single-minded focus that is leading us out of this crisis.”
Labour had branded the Prime Minister “Spineless” over his refusal to sack Matt Hancock amid the cheating and Covid-rule break.
The comments came as more footage emerged of Matt Hancock’s extramarital affair with a tax-payer funded aide.
Mr Hancock apologised after the scoop of the year broke that showed him kissing a close aide who he appointed in his office at the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).
That’s not all, on Friday night Hancock was pictured on a cosy date with the aide on May 23rd.
The Sun revealed that “brazen” Hancock was caught in the second steamy clinch with her in his office THIS WEEK.
Diners at a West London restaurant said the “flirty” pair sank glass after glass of wine together on Sunday May 23.
In a picture taken after 10pm, married Gina was seen swishing her hair as she gazed into dad-of-three Hancock’s eyes.
And a source revealed: “They were at it again this week. This pandemic is far from over and he was back in there with his mistress and their hands were all over each other.
“The bottom line is they don’t seem to care. It’s so brazen.”
Labour said that his position had become “hopelessly untenable” and called for him to be sacked if he was not prepared to not quit voluntarily.
However a Downing Street spokesman said that Mr Johnson had accepted Mr Hancock’s apology and “considers the matter closed”.
Mr Hancock said he was “very sorry” for letting people down after The Sun published a CCTV image of him kissing Gina Coladangelo.
The paper reported that the Health Secretary was having an extramarital affair with Ms Coladangelo, who he knew from their days together at Oxford University and who he appointed to the DHSC last year.
She was initially taken on as an unpaid adviser on a six-month contract in March last year, before being appointed as a non-executive director at the department.
In a statement, Mr Hancock said: “I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances, I have let people down and am very sorry,” he said.
“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.”
Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds said if Mr Hancock had been secretly having a relationship with an adviser he appointed to a taxpayer-funded role, it was “a blatant abuse of power and a clear conflict of interest”.
She said his admission that he had breached the rules on social distancing meant his position in office was no longer tenable.
“He set the rules. He admits he broke them. He has to go. If he won’t resign, the PM should sack him,” she said.
Despite Mr Johnson’s determination to defend his minister, Labour insisted it would continue to pursue the matter and would not allow the Government simply to “cover it up”.
“Matt Hancock appears to have been caught breaking the laws he created while having a secret relationship with an aide he appointed to a taxpayer-funded job,” a spokeswoman said.
However, the Metropolitan Police said they were not investigating Mr Hancock.
A spokesman said: “As a matter of course, the MPS is not investigating Covid-related issues retrospectively.”
The force had also not launched any investigation into how the CCTV showing the embrace had been made public.
During a testy briefing for journalists at Westminster, a No 10 spokesman repeatedly stonewalled in the face of reporters’ questions.
The spokesman insisted the “correct procedure” had been followed in relation Ms Coladangelo’s appointment but refused to go into detail or to say whether Mr Hancock had declared their relationship to senior officials at the DHSC.
Pressed repeatedly on whether their breach of social distancing rules amounted to a breach of the law, the spokesman said: “I point you to the Health Secretary’s statement. I have nothing to add to that.”
Mr Hancock, who is reported to have met Ms Coladangelo when they both worked on the student radio station at Oxford, has been married to his wife Martha for 15 years, and the couple have three children.
Ms Coladangelo is the marketing and communications director at Oliver Bonas, a British retailer founded by her husband, Oliver Tress.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi voiced support for Mr Hancock, telling reporters: “The Secretary of State has apologised and has said everything he needs to say.”