One of the fiercest proponents of stricter social distancing rules, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Friday admitted that he broke the rules himself after images of him kissing an aide were published in a newspaper. Hancock said he “let the people down” after pictures of him kissing his aide Gina Coladangelo—whom he appointed—and was “very sorry”.
“I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances. I have let people down and am very sorry,” Hancock said.
The Downing Street said Prime Minister Boris Johnson accepted Mr Hancock’s apology and “considers the matter closed”. When the spokesperson for the Prime Minister was asked if he had full confidence in Mr Hancock, the answer came in affirmative.
However, Labour urged the Prime Minister to sack Mr Hancock, calling his position “untenable”. Labour spokesperson called the Prime Minister “spineless” and assured that the matter is not closed despite the efforts of the government to cover it up.
Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds said, “He set the rules. He admits he broke them. He has to go. If he won’t resign, the PM should sack him.” The chair of the all party parliamentary group on coronavirus, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran accused Mr Hancock of “utter hypocrisy” and questioned Mr Johnson’s response, saying whether or not he accepted the apology was “irrelevant”.
Pictures of Matt Hancock and his aide in a steamy embrace published in a newspaper
Earlier today, the Sun reported that Matt Hancock and Gina Coladangelo, both of whom are married with children, were having an affair. Hancock and his aide, millionaire lobbyist Gina were caught on a camera in a steamy clinch at his Whitehall office.
The report shared pictures of the two embracing and kissing each other during office hours last month as the mutant strain began raging across Britain. The images, which appear to be from CCTV footage, were taken on May 6 from the Department of Health and Social Care building in London.
At the time when the pictures were reportedly taken, the guidelines directed people to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble.
The legislation in place at that time also said: “no person may participate in a gathering” that “consists of two or more people… and takes place indoors”. The legislation did have an exception for “work purposes or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services”. However, it is not clear whether embracing a co-worker could be considered as a part of a work meeting.
Investigation ordered over serious breach of security
In the meanwhile, an investigation has been launched to find out how images from an UK govt office were leaked to media. It has been considered a “serious breach of security”, as it shows that someone is spying on the country’s senior ministers. According to reports, The Government Security Group, which is in charge of security at 800 buildings across Whitehall, has been asked to investigate the matter.
Some sections have even called for MI5 to get involved in the matter, as there is possibility that hostile foreign states may be involved in the matter. Government insiders said security cameras are generally not placed in the offices of Secretaries of State, and it raises questions about whether the footage of Hancock was recorded on a pre-existing camera or could even have been filmed by a camera deliberately placed there targeting him.