Matt Hancock has been accused of having an affair with his personal aide Gina Coladangelo.
According to CCTV pictures published by The Sun newspaper, Hancock allegedly kissed Coladangelo, a close friend of Hancock who was hired last year, in the department of health’s Whitehall office on 6 May - while social distancing restrictions were still in place.
The pictures prompted questions about hiring close contacts to work in government roles with public money, and also raised concerns about whether coronavirus restrictions implemented – in part, by himself – had been followed.
Hancock has now addressed the images, apologising for breaking social distancing guidance and “letting people down”, but making clear he intends to resist calls for his resignation.
So what do we know about each of the people affected by Hancock’s alleged actions?
Health secretary Matt HancockPA
Hancock is the Health Secretary and he has carried out this role throughout the coronavirus crisis. Recently, he has come under fire from former Downing Street adviser, Dominic Cummings, for his handling of the pandemic. Cummings alleged that Hancock lied and set unreasonable targets for the number of tests the government did for his own political gain, and said that the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, wanted to fire him. Hancock has denied Cummings’ allegations.
This is not the only scandal he has faced during the pandemic. In February, a High Court judge ruled that Hancock had acted unlawfully by handing out PPE contracts without publishing details in a timely way.
He was also pictured in a car without a mask last October, days after he was accused of breaching the 10pm pub and hospitality sector curfew (remember that?) by drinking in the House of Commons bar.
On the latest claims published in the Sun, Hancock said: “I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance. 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.”
It is alleged that Hancock was kissing Gina Coladangelo, his aide and adviser, who he reportedly met at Oxford University.
Her appointment to the department sparked controversy at the time because she is the director and major stakeholder of a lobbying firm called Luther Pendragon which offers clients a “deep understanding of the mechanics of government”.
A Department of Health and Social Care statement said: “This appointment was made in the usual way and followed correct procedure.”
But The Times said he failed to declare the appointment.
Coladangelo is also the marketing and communications director of Oliver Bonas, a fashion and lifestyle shop founded by her husband.
Tress is Coladangelo’s husband, and the founder of Oliver Bonas. There are over 70 branches of the shop around the UK.
Tress has three children with Coladangelo.
Martha Hancock is Matt Hancock’s wife. The couple, who have been married for 15 years, also met at Oxford University and have three children together.
She is an osteopath and is the granddaughter of Frederick Miller, 1st Baron Inchyra, a British diplomat who served as Ambassador to West Germany in 1955.