Matt Hancock has insisted that he broke solely Covid pointers somewhat than guidelines in kissing his aide and pal in his ministerial workplace, occasions that compelled his resignation as UK well being secretary after CCTV photographs of the clinch emerged.
Hancock additionally stated his decision to step down greater than 24 hours after the photographs have been printed was made after individuals he knew and revered received in contact to remind him that they had been unable to see dying family due to Covid laws.
He resigned in June final yr after CCTV footage was leaked to the Solar displaying him kissing his closest aide, Gina Coladangelo, in his private workplace.
In a prolonged interview for the podcast Diary of a CEO, Hancock made the excellence that he didn’t consider he had damaged any legally set guidelines, though he accepted it was inevitable he needed to step down.
“I resigned as a result of I broke the social distance in pointers then,” he stated. “They weren’t truly guidelines. They weren’t the regulation. However that’s not the purpose. The purpose is that they have been the rules that I’d been proposing.”
He added: “It truly occurred after … the foundations have been lifted, however the steerage was nonetheless in place. So I’m not attempting to assert that I maintain no bitterness about this as a result of I broke the foundations, I fess up, I broke the steerage, and there have been solely two individuals chargeable for this.”
It occurred, he stated, “as a result of I fell in love with any person,” describing Coladangelo, an in depth private and household pal earlier than they started a relationship, as somebody he had identified “for greater than half of my life”.
Hancock has left his spouse, with whom he has three kids, to reside with Coladangelo. The PR and lobbying supervisor, who on the time was a non-executive director on the well being division, can be married with three kids.
“I introduced her into the division to assist with public communications,” Hancock informed the podcast. “And so we spent quite a lot of time collectively, satirically, attempting to get me to have the ability to talk in a extra emotionally clever approach.
“And we fell in love. And that’s one thing that was utterly exterior of my management. And naturally, I remorse the ache that that’s triggered and the very, very, very public nature. Anyone who’s been by this is aware of how tough it’s, how painful it’s doing that in public is extremely painful, however I fell in love with somebody.”
Hancock informed the podcast that his determination to resign was not essentially a results of the extreme media strain: “It was that some individuals I actually respect received involved and informed me about issues that that they had been not capable of do.”
Requested to clarify, he stated: “Like seeing dying family. And … I realised that it was unsustainable.”
The discharge of the CCTV photographs “triggered an enormous quantity of ache”, Hancock stated: “Anyone is aware of how tough it’s ending a relationship, and we’ve got six kids. It’s powerful. However Gina and I really like one another very deeply.”
Hancock stated he nonetheless didn’t understand how CCTV photographs from his private workplace have been leaked and that he knew nothing in regards to the progress of an investigation by the Data Commissioner’s Workplace.
He stated: “The factor that we’ve discovered, and I feel all my different colleagues in cupboard discovered instantly, is why did you’ve a CCTV within the secretary of state’s workplace? Clearly, I didn’t learn about it as a result of even who’s within the workplace is a crucial reality and a delicate piece of knowledge.”