British Health Secretary; Matt Hancock has been caught on camera in a steamy clinch with his closest aide; Gina Coladangelo who he hired last year with taxpayers money.
The embarrassing picture was splashed on the front page of the Sun newspaper. Hancock and Gina Coladangelo were seen in the picture kissing and hugging at the Department of Health’s London HQ during office hours.
Trouble brews for Matt Hancock as he faced more questions about his judgment on Friday after the viral pictures. Hancock, who has been under fire for his handling of the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, was found in February to have acted unlawfully by not revealing details of contracts signed during the health crisis.
The opposition Labour Party, which had accused the government of “cronyism” in awarding millions of pounds of contracts related to the pandemic, said Friday’s report needed to be looked into.
“Ministers, like everyone, are entitled to a private life,” a Labour spokesperson said.
“However, when taxpayers’ money is involved or jobs are being offered to close friends who are in a personal relationship with a minister, then that needs to be looked into.”
According to the Sun tabloid, the picture of Hancock, who is married, and the aide was taken last month. The The popular daily newspaper did not say how it obtained the security camera images, but it cited a whistleblower as commenting on the relationship.
The Sun said Hancock met the aide at Oxford University in the early 2000s. She is listed on the health department’s website as a non-executive director.
Hancock has been criticised for his department’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in the early months when it struggled to deliver testing and protective equipment for hospital staff treating COVID-19 patients.
Asked about the appropriateness of appointing friends to positions in government, Transport Minister Grant Shapps told Sky News that “very strict rules were in place.
“In terms of the rules, anyone who has been appointed has to go through an incredibly vigorous process in government,” Shapps said.
Meanwhile, the health ministry has not responded to this.