Matt Hancock says ‘I haven’t had causal sex with anybody’
Independent

Since Matt Hancock resigned as health secretary last year, he's rarely been out of the media spotlight.

The former cabinet minister has spent his time on the backbenches apparently trying to get a book deal, almost getting a job at the United Nations and even turning up at a Capital FM party.

So it was only a matter of time before he followed in Molly-Mae Hague's footsteps and appeared on Steven Bartlett's podcast, The Diary of a CEO, where he discussed the scandal that made him quit his role as well as his time as health secretary, Partygate and more.

Here's a breakdown of what he said:

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"It was tough, people were tough on me"

Speaking about his early years, Hancock said that he found school difficult and that he was bullied "a bit".

He then studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University and was attracted to it because his mother's business almost "went bust" and he wanted to know more about why businesses thrive and fail.

"Oxford took a provincial boy from Cheshire"

At Oxford, he said he was put in a different environment then he was used to as a "middle class" boy from Cheshire.

Hancock attended the King's School in Chester - a private school which fees are currently almost £5000 a term...

"Look at who Boris Johnson has put in his cabinet. I know that you're immediately thinking of people he was at the same school and university as but there are an awful lot of people who weren't."

While discussing class diversity or lack thereof in British politics, Hancock defended the establishment system and insisted people could make it in politics regardless of their backgrounds.

After all, not everyone in Johnson's cabinet went to school with him!

"Rishi Sunak... his mum's a pharmacist, he grew up in a pharmacy, there are loads of people who have made it from difficult backgrounds".

Sunak went to Winchester School, one of the country's leading private schools. As Hancock said, his mother worked as a pharmacist and his father a doctor. A very difficult background indeed

"This guy has great capabilities."

What guy? Boris Johnson unfortunately. Speaking about why he supported the prime minister during his Conservative leadership campaign in 2019, he said he thought he was someone who could deal with Brexit and had good skills.

He later praised him for not playing by "rules" in terms of political communication and said he is a "very emotionally engaged person" able to withstand criticism.

He even compared him to Barack Obama. Enough said.

"There were some mistakes we made in terms of the measures"

Hancock admitted that mistakes were made in the handling of the pandemic and used funerals as an example. Speaking about situations in which shielding people did not attend loved one's memorial services, he said: "That was terrible".

However, he defended the care home scandal and said staff brought Covid into care homes not patients from hospitals.

"I got up in the morning and I did my level best and then I went to sleep and then I woke up and repeated the exercise".

Speaking about how he handled the pandemic, Hancock said he didn't experience anxiety in a medical sense and kept to this routine to stop stress.

"I was trying to hold myself together."

Bartlett asked Hancock about the viral clip of Hancock crying while discussing the vaccine rollout on Good Morning Britain.

Hancock said people had accused him of faking tears but in reality he was "trying to be professional" and hold back his emotions.

"I haven't had casual sex with anybody. I fell in love with somebody."

Bartlett pressed Hancock on his affair with Gina Colangelo which led to his resignation due to the social distancing guidelines that were in place at the time.

Hancock immediately bristled when Bartlett brought up his Sky News interview from around the same time when he advised people not to have "casual sex" or sex outside of "established relationships" and asked him to approach the subject in a more "respectful way".

"I resigned because I broke the social distancing guidelines. By then they weren't actually rules, they weren't' the law but that's not the point. The point is they were the guidelines that I'd been proposing.

"That happened because I fell in love with somebody."

Hancock added that the situation was "outside of my control" but admitted he had found the saga "awful", especially in terms of trying to shield his children from his public divorce.

"We spent a lot of time together ironically trying to get me to be able to communicate in a more emotionally intelligent way".

In a Partridge moment, Hancock revealed the reason he hired Colangelo in the first place.

"Some people I really respect got in contact and told me about things they had been not be able to do"

Hancock said he didn't resign because of pressure from the press but because "I realised it was unsustainable" when people reminded him they hadn't been able to visit dying relatives and live normal lives during the pandemic while he broke guidance.

"The prime minister has so many other things on his plate as well"

The two then discussed the Partygate scandal Hancock was reluctant to criticise Johnson. He said there was a "bigger picture" and that the UK was coming out of the pandemic.

"This guy was trying to get me fired, he sent a load of aggressive messages to the prime minister, the prime minister responded as he did in a private setting never expecting that to become public."

Next, they touched on Dominic Cummings and his vendetta against Hancock. Last year, the former adviser published text messages alleging that Johnson called Hancock "totally f***ing hopeless" and considering removing him from his health secretary role.

"Boris has apologised for the way that came over and for sending those messages," Hancock claimed.

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