Matt Hancock giving a Covid press conference (Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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Matt Hancock has sparked a wave of anger after he refused to quit despite admitting a brazen breach of Covid rules by kissing his taxpayer-funded aide indoors.
The image of the Health Secretary with millionaire lobbyist Gina Coladangelo, who has a £15,000-a-year role at the Department of Health, was reportedly taken on May 6.
At the time England's law – signed by Matt Hancock – banned indoor social gatherings of people from different households. Guidance also urged people to stay two metres apart and avoid "face to face contact".
Mr Hancock has admitted breaking the guidance, while neither he nor No10 have clarified whether or not he broke the law.
It's understood Mr Hancock believes no Covid laws were broken, because he and Mrs Coladangelo were in the Health Department for legitimate work purposes.
Matt Hancock and Gina Coladangelo in their embrace
(Image: Image: The Sun)
The Health Secretary is the minister who wrote Covid rules and throughout the pandemic has been the key figure ordering the public to obey lockdown curbs.
Here are just some of the times Mr Hancock appears to have been a total hypocrite.
He backed police action against Professor Neil Ferguson
Prof Neil Ferguson, the scientist whose modelling finally prompted Boris Johnson to order the first lockdown, quit SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) after a woman visited him at his home amid the tightest restrictions.
The health secretary said he "made the right decision to resign" and claimed to have been left “speechless” by the scientist's “extraordinary” behaviour.
Mr Hancock even suggested police action by the Met.
He said: “I back the police here. They will take their decisions independently from ministers, that’s quite right, it’s always been like that.
“Even though I have got a clear answer to what I think, as a minister the way we run the police is that they make decisions like this. So I give them their space to make that decision, but I think he took the right decision to resign.”
Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, warned there remains a "risk of a substantial third wave" of Covid infection
He told Scotland's chief medical officer 'the rules are for everyone' – after she resigned over lockdown breach
Last April, Matt Hancock waded into the row over Scotland's chief medical officer , Dr Catherine Calderwood, who was caught visiting her second home.
Dr Calderwood resigned after Nicola Sturgeon said the top medic had "undermined" lockdown.
But rule-breaking Mr Hancock did not pass up the opportunity to remind everyone "these rules are for everyone" when interviewed about the breach.
"We couldn't be clearer that social distancing rules are there for everyone," he told a No10 press conference at the time.
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He warned people to hug 'carefully' – ten days after he kissed aide
Before restrictions on physical contact were lifted on May 17 – something the Health Secretary himself signed off – Mr Hancock warned the public they must hug "carefully".
He said on May 16 he planned to hug his parents when the curbs lifted, but said he would do it outdoors in order to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
He said: “Of course there are people who have been yearning to have some physical contact. You should do that carefully. If you’ve had both jabs more than two weeks ago, that’s much safer.”
Images of Mr Hancock with millionaire lobbyist Gina Coladangelo at the Department of Health were said to have been taken on May 6.
But Mr Hancock warned the public: "We should all be careful, we all know the risks. Outside is safer than inside, so even though you can from tomorrow, meet up inside, it's still better to meet up outside."
The Health Secretary said only 'established couples' should have sex
In September, Matt Hancock said people need to "be careful" and "sensible", and should only have sex with someone they're in an "established relationship" with.
Asked about the strict rules on social distancing at the time, Mr Hancock told Sky News: "In these rules that we have to bring in, there have to be boundaries, to coin a phrase."
He added: "I think we should stick to the letter of it, which is it is okay in an established relationship.
"It just means that people need to be careful, they need to be sensible.
"If you're in a relationship that is well established… what it means is people realising that coming into close contact with people from other households, then that is how the virus spreads."
Mr Hancock even joked "I know I am in an established relationship" with his wife. Mr Hancock and his allies have declined to confirm or deny claims in the Sun that he and Gina Coladangelo were having an affair.