Matt Hancock leaked messages on twitter, photo of kiss with aide
Matt Hancock and his team spent several hours deliberating whether he had violated Covid protocols by kissing his assistant and sharing news with The Telegraph. The WhatsApp message was sent following The Sun’s publication of a photo showing Mr. Hancock kissing Gina Coradangelo. According to his spokesperson, the news was not newsworthy and was “completely irrelevant” to the public interest.
The spokesperson went on to say that the public inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic had access to all relevant information. The BBC has not been able to verify the authenticity or context of the news. Despite this, the spokesperson condemned the invasion of privacy and deemed it inappropriate.
The former health secretary expressed disapproval of the eat out scheme in a separate conversation, citing its negative impact on areas with high Covid cases. In a 41-hour WhatsApp exchange, Mr. Hancock and Ms. Coradangelo hesitated to disclose the truth. The Sun reported that the two were photographed at the Department of Health on May 6, 2021, while they were both married with children. The photos caused significant public outrage as they suggested that Mr. Hancock had violated his own Covid lockdown rules. While awaiting the release of the photos, he messaged a special counsel asking for an assessment of their severity.
Responding to a video of the former aide obtained by him and The Sun, Mr Hancock then said: “My God. I’m not sure how newsworthy this is, I can’t say it looks interesting.” Mr Corker asked his then special adviser, Damon Poole, to “focus on appointing Ms Cora d’Angelo to continue”.
Ms Colatangelo worked as a paid consultant to the government, when she was a non-executive director of the Department of Health and Social Care. The then health minister also asked another minister if he could stress that “there was no breach of the rules”.
Mr Poole asked Mr Hancock and Ms Colatangelo to think “very seriously” about whether they might have broken Covid rules. Referring to the social distancing rules of 1m distances when 2m would not be possible to keep 1m distances from others, Mr Hancock said: “I can’t think of anything, to be honest, other than the obvious over 1m.”
He added: “The worst thing they can do is ‘be kissed before hugging is legalized’.” But then Mr Hancock asked his advisers to clarify the exact rules for when the photo was taken. The two then exchanged plans on how to respond to media coverage. That ranged from acknowledging that he “broke social distancing rules” – Matt Hancock said he didn’t think it was possible, adding “I think I was just breaking clinical advice” – to stating that “no rules were broken” .
In one exchange, Matt Hancock cited social distancing guidelines for workers at the time, saying workers should “adhere to social distancing guidelines as much as possible,” to which his adviser replied: “Yes, but it’s possible. Clearly.” Not in the picture.” In another published exchange, Matt Hancock sought advice from former prime minister George Osborne that he should release a video statement announcing his resignation.
Mr Osborne said it was “fine” but suggested he might “want to include the apology you wrote to your loved ones in your letter”. He eventually resigned over the incident and posted a video on his Twitter page.