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Matt Hancock news live: Health secretary ‘very sorry’ for breaking Covid rules in ‘affair’ photo

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Matt Hancock news live: Health secretary ‘very sorry’ for breaking Covid rules in ‘affair’ photo 2

Matt Hancock accused of ‘having affair with close aide’ Gina Coladangelo

Health secretary Matt Hancock this afternoon said he is “very sorry” for breaching social distancing guidelines after allegedly being pictured in a clinch with a female adviser, but made clear he does not intend to resign.

Mr Hancock said:“I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances.

“I have let people down and am very sorry. 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.”

The Sun claimed that Mr Hancock was caught on camera kissing Gina Coladangelo, with the newspaper publishing security pictures reportedly taken on 6 May.

It was revealed in November that Ms Coladangelo had been given a role as a non-executive director at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), despite there being no public record of the appointment.

On Friday morning, transport secretary Grant Shapps attempted to dismiss the allegations as a personal matter and said he would not comment on the claims.

It comes after a difficult few weeks for the health secretary following revelations that Boris Johnson called him “hopeless” during the first wave of the pandemic last year.

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Hancock keeps job as Boris Johnson accepts apology and considers matter ‘closed’

Matt Hancock has avoided the sack after being photographed in a social distancing-breaching clinch with an aide, after Boris Johnson accepted his apology and said he considered the matter “closed”.

A Downing Street spokesperson said that the prime minister continued to have “full confidence” in Mr Hancock as health secretary, despite concerns over reports of an alleged affair.

Our political editor, Andrew Woodcock, has the full story below:

Conrad Duncan25 June 2021 13:35

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Chris Whitty declines to comment on Hancock allegations

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has declined to comment on Matt Hancock’s alleged actions after it was reported that he was having an affair with one of his close aides.

When asked outside the Department of Health on Friday afternoon if he had anything to say about the health secretary’s apology, Professor Whitty replied: “Nothing.”

Conrad Duncan25 June 2021 13:21

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For anyone who’s trying to keep track of what is no longer a resigning offence in Boris Johnson’s government…

Conrad Duncan25 June 2021 13:12

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Video of Labour’s Anneliese Dodds calling for Matt Hancock to be sacked can be found below:

Anneliese Dodds calls for Matt Hancock to be sacked

Conrad Duncan25 June 2021 13:06

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Matt Hancock’s messy month – from being called ‘f**king hopeless’ to alleged affair

The Independent’s Adam Forrest takes you through a month to forget for the under-fire health secretary:

Joe Middleton25 June 2021 12:51

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‘Coladange… Co… do… Col… Coladan… jan’: BBC reporter struggles to pronounce Gina Coladangelo

If you’ve been wondering how to pronounce Gina Coladangelo’s name, don’t ask BBC political correspondent Ben Wright, who was caught on camera struggling with the surname earlier on Friday.

Mr Wright was explaining that The Sun newspaper has published security pictures that allegedly show health secretary Matt Hancock in an embrace with lobbyist Ms Coladangelo when he started stumbling over his words.

“Coladange… Code…Co… Coladange…jaje – sorry, I beg your pardon – Gina Coladag… age… jen… jenlo,” the visibly embarrassed reporter stuttered, failing until the end to utter the name in full.

Watch: BBC reporter struggles to pronounce Gina Coladangelo

If you’ve been wondering how to pronounce Gina Coladangelo’s name, don’t ask BBC political correspondent Ben Wright, who was caught on camera struggling with the surname earlier on Friday.Mr Wright was explaining that The Sun newspaper has published security pictures that allegedly show health secretary Matt Hancock in an embrace with lobbyist Ms Coladangelo when he started stumbling over his words.“Coladange… Code…Co… Coladange…jaje – sorry, I beg your pardon – Gina Coladag… age… jen… jenlo,” the visibly embarrassed reporter stuttered, failing until the end to utter the name in full.

Joe Middleton25 June 2021 12:42

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Hancock ‘very sorry’ for breaching social distancing rules

Matt Hancock has said this afternoon he is “very sorry” for breaching social distancing guidelines after being pictured in a clinch with a female adviser, but made clear he does not intend to resign.

Mr Hancock said:“I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances.

“I have let people down and am very sorry. 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.”

Joe Middleton25 June 2021 12:24

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Labour urges Johnson to sack Hancock

Labour has urged the prime minister to fire Matt Hancock after details of his alleged affair transpired early this morning.

In a statement released this morning, Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s 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.”

Joe Middleton25 June 2021 12:08

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We have confirmation now that Matt Hancock did not appear at a planned constituency event at Newmarket Racecourse this morning.

An organiser for the event told Sky News that his appearance was cancelled “early this morning” – no prizes for guessing why…

Conrad Duncan25 June 2021 11:58

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Opinion: ‘It should be over for Hancock – but Boris Johnson is in a tricky position’

Although Matt Hancock’s Cabinet career would be over in normal times, he may yet survive due to Boris Johnson’s history of infidelity allegations, according to our commentator Sean O’Grady.

The prime minister has faced his own questions over an alleged affair with Jennifer Arcuri, putting himself potentially at risk of accusations of hypocrisy if he takes action against Mr Hancock.

“Surely the prime minister should take action? The problem, of course, is that Boris Johnson himself has faced talk of an affair with Jennifer Arcuri when he was mayor of London.

“That makes it all the more difficult for Johnson to fire Hancock. Shameless as he is, it would make Johnson look ridiculously hypocritical, even by his own standards.”

You can find his full piece below:

Conrad Duncan25 June 2021 11:46

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