The Sun today (25th June, 2021) features a picture of Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, in a steamy embrace with an advisor Gina Coladangelo. The paper says its photograph of Mr Hancock, taken on 6th May, kissing and hugging Gina Coladangelo had been taken inside the Department last month.
The timing of the embrace was in clear breach of the Government’s social distancing rules on embracing someone from outside his social bubble. The guidance in place since March 2020 had ordered people to stay two metres apart from anyone outside their household or bubble. The rules were only relaxed on May 17. The rules stated at the time of Mr Hancock’s embrace that if people left their home, they had to ‘stay at least two metres away from people you do not live with or who are not in your support bubble’. They should also ‘avoid direct contact and face-to-face contact with people you do not live with’, and ‘stay at least 2metres away from anyone who visits your home for work reasons’.
Asked on LBC radio whether the Health Secretary had been ‘ignoring social distancing’ with Ms Coladangelo, MP Grant 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.’
Ms Coladangelo – who is also marketing and communications director at fashion and homeware retailer Oliver Bonas – was appointed to the Department of Health’s board of non-executive directors last September. The role comes with a £15,000 salary and involves 15-to-20 days of work per year.
A whistle-blower told The Sun, ‘They have tried to keep it a secret but everyone knows what goes on inside a building like that. I’m just amazed he was so brazen about it as he was the Secretary of State. It has also shocked people because he put her in such an important, publicly-funded role and this is what they get up to in office hours when everyone else is working hard.’
Mr Hancock cancelled a scheduled visit to a Pharmacy2U vaccine site at Newmarket Racecourse on Friday morning following the release of the pictures.
Below a photograph of Matt Hancock pictured leaving Downing Street with Gina Coladangelo on 1 May.
Matt Hancock looking at Gina’s phone. Captions please!