Former health secretary Matt Hancock says he focused on his personal life after CCTV showed him kissing Gina Coladangelo, and he is “sorry to the people that I hurt”
Image: NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
Former health secretary Matt Hancock has admitted that being caught kissing an aide had “blown up every part of my life” as he split with his wife and resigned from his government role.
As images circulated of Hancock’s romantic embrace with Gina Coladangelo last June, he said that his first thoughts were for his personal life and then his job.
He told ITV’s Peston show: “As you can imagine, the first thing that I focused on was my personal life and when I focused on my professional responsibility I decided that I had to resign.”
Hancock was at the forefront of the government’s pandemic response and had been under pressure over how it had been handled and the way contracts had been given out.
“I’d blown up every part of my life. I concentrated on my personal life first as you can probably imagine… I made the decision,” he said.
“It was clearly the right decision. I just say sorry again for the failure. I let a lot of people down. I’m sorry to the people that I hurt.”
He says that he is in no rush to get back to the front bench.
“I’m not in any hurry. I actually think that being on the backbenches – I’m enjoying it,” he continued.
“It’s a very important job. I think contributions from people who have been there in the heat of battle… Theresa May, the contribution she makes as a former Prime Minister. If I can make that sort of contribution…”
Hancock denied that he was directly involved with the giving out of a £40 million contract to a company in his constituency when he was health secretary.
“I’ve absolutely no idea because I didn’t have anything at all to do with that contract,” he told the ITV programme.
“And more importantly, the gentleman in question and his company didn’t get a contract with the department or the NHS. They were a subcontractor and therefore they didn’t have a contractual arrangement with the department… I have been told, through the media and outlets, that somehow there has been some great scandal here, and it’s just not true.
“I had nothing to do with this contract, and there isn’t a contract between my constituent and the department. He was a subcontractor. But more importantly, at that time, do you remember what it was like?
“We were doing everything we possibly could to save lives and all this stuff about contracts, which has all been looked into by the National Audit Office, it is all just – actually what happened behind the scenes is people worked incredibly hard to do everything they possibly could to save lives.”
The UK was slow off the mark in testing people for Covid but now have high percentages compared to other European countries and Hancock believes this is the way to go.
“We should test the hell out of ourselves,” he said.
“The best way to keep yourself safe if you’re seeing people – knowing I was coming to see you, I took a test this morning – we should test the hell out of ourselves and that is the best way to just be really cautious and careful. Get those tests – they’re available free – and take them and that will help to keep things open.”