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Taste of his own medicine? Labour urge Scotland Yard to investigate Matt Hancock’s rule-breaking

A shadow Cabinet minister has urged the police to investigate cheating Matt Hancock after the disgraced former Health Secretary was pictured flouting social distancing restrictions with his mistress.

Shadow Housing Secretary Lucy Powell said that Labour MP Fleur Anderson had referred Mr Hancock to the Metropolitan Police to find out if any lockdown laws had been broken.  

Mr Hancock resigned from government and left his wife of 15 years this week after the Sun newspaper splashed images of him kissing aide Gina Coladangelo in his ministerial office in defiance of the very restrictions he imposed on millions of people during the pandemic. 

Speaking to Trevor Phillips On Sunday on Sky News, Miss Powell claimed that Mr Hancock put people at risk of the virus by being in ‘two bubbles at the same time, unbeknown to other people in that bubble’. 

The Labour frontbencher pointed to the former Health Secretary’s own calls for police to investigate Professor Neil Ferguson last year after the SAGE adviser broke lockdown to see his lover, adding: ‘You can’t have the rule maker also being the rule breaker, people want to know there’s accountability in that.’

Mr Hancock had condemned the actions of ‘Professor Lockdown’ in an interview with Sky News on May 6, 2020, calling them ‘extraordinary’ and saying it ‘would not be possible’ for Prof Ferguson to have kept his job after reports emerged of his tryst with Antonia Staats.   

Although the Metropolitan Police decided not to prosecute Prof Ferguson, Mr Hancock had said he would back the police if they wanted to take action over the matter.

Miss Powell today said: ‘At the time, you’ll remember, when this video was taken, we were all told that we could only have close contact with those that we were in a bubble with, they were our bubble, and that was the only people we could have close contact with, that was the law at the time.

Shadow Housing Secretary Lucy Powell said that Labour MP Fleur Anderson had referred Mr Hancock to the Metropolitan Police to find out if any lockdown laws had been broken

Mr Hancock had condemned the actions of 'Professor Lockdown' in an interview with Sky News on May 6, 2020, calling them 'extraordinary' and saying it 'would not be possible' for Prof Ferguson to have kept his job

Mr Hancock had condemned the actions of ‘Professor Lockdown’ in an interview with Sky News on May 6, 2020, calling them ‘extraordinary’ and saying it ‘would not be possible’ for Prof Ferguson to have kept his job

The news came less than two hours after Matt Hancock announced his resignation from the position following the emergence of video footage showing him kissing an aide in his ministerial office in a breach of coronavirus restrictions

The news came less than two hours after Matt Hancock announced his resignation from the position following the emergence of video footage showing him kissing an aide in his ministerial office in a breach of coronavirus restrictions 

Matt Hancock wrote a letter of resignation (pictured above) to Boris Johnson where he said the Government 'owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down

Matt Hancock wrote a letter of resignation (pictured above) to Boris Johnson where he said the Government ‘owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down

Saj gets down to business: New Health Secretary thanks cheating predecessor for his ‘hard work’ and says his ‘most immediate priority is ending pandemic as soon as possible’ as he speaks for first time in new role 

Sajid Javid today announced his ‘most immediate priority’ will be ending the pandemic as soon as possible and praised cheating Matt Hancock’s record in government after the disgraced former minister was pictured flouting coronavirus restrictions.  

Speaking to the media for the first time since becoming Health Secretary on Saturday, Mr Javid said: ‘I just want to start by saying I think Matt Hancock worked incredibly hard, he achieved a lot, and I’m sure he will have more to offer in public life.

‘I was honoured to take up this position. I also know that it comes with a huge responsibility and I will do everything I can to make sure that I deliver for this great country.

‘We are still in a pandemic and I want to see that come to an end as soon as possible and that will be my most immediate priority, to see that we can return to normal as soon and as quickly as possible.’  

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer left government in February 2020 after Boris Johnson tried to sack his entire team and amid rumours of a stormy relationship with former senior No10 aide Dominic Cummings, who himself resigned in November last year.

Mr Javid has returned to the Prime Minister’s cabinet as an emergency replacement for Mr Hancock, who resigned as Health Secretary and left his wife of 15 years Martha after the Sun newspaper splashed images of him kissing aide Gina Coladangelo in his ministerial office.

‘It now turns out that Matt Hancock was actually in two bubbles at the same time, unbeknown to other people in that bubble, and that is how infection spreads. So yes, there are serious issues here which need further investigation. 

‘And we will be looking at those because of course, you know, Matt Hancock was the first to say that Neil Ferguson and others should have resigned when they broke the rules and that other people needed to abide by them. So you can’t have the rule maker also being the rule breaker, people want to know there’s accountability in that.’

Miss Powell also said Labour will push for Mr Hancock to be stripped of the £16,000 of severance pay he is entitled to by law, and claimed Boris Johnson has a ‘very dangerous blind spot when it comes to issues of integrity and conduct in public life’ after the premier refused to sack him.

The Shadow Housing Secretary said people would be ‘appalled to think that there’s going to be a severance payment to Matt Hancock in this circumstance’, contrasting this with the pay offer for NHS staff, and said people would be ‘pretty disgusted’.

She added: ‘We will certainly be calling that out and asking the Prime Minister not to give him that.’ It has not been confirmed whether Mr Hancock will take the payment.

A Scotland Yard spokesman told MailOnline the force is not investigating Covid-related issues retrospectively, but will investigate alleged breaches of the Health Protection Regulations 2020 ‘where police action can enable a change to behaviour that is posing a current public health risk’. 

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: ‘The Met is aware of the distribution of images alleged to have been obtained from within an official government premises. No criminal investigation has been launched. At this time, it remains a matter for the relevant government department. 

‘Where the Met receives allegations of breaches of the Health Protection Regulations 2020, we will focus on those that are live, or where police action can enable a change to behaviour that is posing a current public health risk. As a matter of course the MPS is not investigating Covid related issues retrospectively.’

Mr Johnson had refused to sack Mr Hancock, with his spokesman saying the PM considered the matter closed after receiving the West Suffolk MP’s apology on Friday.

In response to Mr Hancock’s letter, the Prime Minister wrote: ‘You should leave office very proud of what you have achieved – not just in tackling the pandemic, but even before Covid-19 struck us.’

And he said: ‘Above all, it has been your task to deal with a challenge greater than that faced by any of your predecessors, and in fighting Covid you have risen to that challenge – with the abundant energy, intelligence, and determination that are your hallmark.’

On Saturday Conservative MPs began to break ranks to call for Mr Hancock to go. Veteran Tory Sir Christopher Chope said his constituents were ‘seething’. Norfolk Norfolk MP Duncan Baker said: ‘In my view people in high public office and great positions of responsibility should act with the appropriate morals and ethics that come with that role.’

Mr Johnson had refused to sack Mr Hancock, with his spokesman saying the PM considered the matter closed after receiving the West Suffolk MP’s apology on Friday.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: ‘Matt Hancock is right to resign. But Boris Johnson should have sacked him.’

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: ‘It is right that Matt Hancock has resigned. But why didn’t Boris Johnson have the guts to sack him and why did he say the matter was closed? Boris Johnson has demonstrated that he has none of the leadership qualities required of a Prime Minister.’

Liberal Democrats’ leader Sir Ed Davey tweeted: ‘Matt Hancock’s legacy as Health Secretary will be one of cronyism and failure. And the fact that Boris Johnson thought Hancock could just carry on regardless brings the Prime Minister’s judgement into question once again.’

Mr Hancock’s three-year tenure as health secretary came to an end after The Sun newspaper published stills of what appeared to be CCTV footage from inside his ministerial office of him kissing Ms Coladangelo.

Ms Coladangelo, a friend from Mr Hancock’s days at Oxford University, was brought into DHSC as an unpaid adviser last year before being given the £15,000-a-year role of non-executive director in the department.

Matt Hancock, 42, announced his resignation on Saturday following the emergence of video footage showing him kissing aide Gina Coladangelo in his ministerial office in a breach of coronavirus restrictions

Matt Hancock, 42, announced his resignation on Saturday following the emergence of video footage showing him kissing aide Gina Coladangelo in his ministerial office in a breach of coronavirus restrictions 

Matt Hancock, 42, resigned as Health Secretary and left his wife of 15 years after images published this week showed him kissing Miss Coladangelo, 43, in his ministerial office in breach of coronavirus restrictions

Matt Hancock, 42, resigned as Health Secretary and left his wife of 15 years after images published this week showed him kissing Miss Coladangelo, 43, in his ministerial office in breach of coronavirus restrictions

Gina Coladangelo (pictured with the Health Secretary in September 2019), initially taken on by Mr Hancock as an unpaid adviser on a six-month contract in early 2020, is also leaving her position on the board of the Department of Health

Gina Coladangelo (pictured with the Health Secretary in September 2019), initially taken on by Mr Hancock as an unpaid adviser on a six-month contract in early 2020, is also leaving her position on the board of the Department of Health

Legislation in place at the time said that ‘no person may participate in a gathering’ that ‘consists of two or more people… and takes place indoors’.

An exception to this rule was that the gathering was ‘reasonably necessary for work purposes or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services’.

Tory MPs and ministers will also have been eyeing the by-election in Batley and Spen next week.

Christchurch MP Sir Christopher told the BBC the impact on the West Yorkshire vote was on his mind.

Labour MP for Halifax, Holly Lynch, had been preparing to write an open letter to Conservative MPs and the Tory candidate in the election, Ryan Stephenson, challenging them to tell Mr Hancock to resign.

Before he did, Sir Christopher told Radio 4’s PM programme: ‘Of course I feel that. And that’s another reason why I think that the sooner he goes the better, because otherwise the last few days of the campaign are going to be dominated by this issue and it’s obviously not going to be very helpful for the Conservatives.’ 

It comes as a Cabinet minister today confirmed that an official investigation is underway into how footage of Matt Hancock locked in an embrace with a top aide was leaked to his lockdown-sceptic opponents.

Brandon Lewis confirmed that the Department of Health was looking into how the images from inside Mr Hancock’s private office ended up splashed across the front of the Sun newspaper.

The Mail on Sunday today revealed that the sting was executed by a whistleblower in his department who contacted opponents of the Health Secretary’s stance on lockdown to help expose his affair.

The footage of Mr Hancock kissing Gina Coladangelo was caught on a CCTV camera in his office on May 6, and secretly recorded by a member of his department’s staff.

After allowing a month to elapse, the whistleblower approached lockdown sceptics and asked them to help sell the incendiary footage to the media.

Northern Ireland Secretary Mr Lewis today told Sky News: ‘It’s something we need to get to the bottom of.

‘Quite rightly what happens in Government departments can be sensitive and important. So yes, I do know that is something the Department of Health will be taking forward as an internal investigation.’

Throughout the pandemic, Mr Hancock has been a leading lockdown ‘dove’, arguing that the ultimate priority of government policy should be protecting the NHS against being overwhelmed. His critics have argued that the cost of the measures has been too high.

The sting that brought down Matt Hancock was executed by a whistleblower in his department who contacted opponents of the Health Secretary's stance on lockdown to help expose his affair, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. The clinch took place around this corner (bottom right part of image). The camera in question can be seen on the ceiling (top right-hand corner)

The sting that brought down Matt Hancock was executed by a whistleblower in his department who contacted opponents of the Health Secretary’s stance on lockdown to help expose his affair, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. The clinch took place around this corner (bottom right part of image). The camera in question can be seen on the ceiling (top right-hand corner)

After allowing a month to elapse, the whistleblower approached lockdown sceptics and asked them to help sell the incendiary footage to the media

When the images detonated on The Sun’s front page on Friday, Mr Hancock’s allies speculated that he had been the victim of a ‘hit’ by No 10, or even a foreign power such as China.

They said they had no idea the camera existed, that it was ‘unheard of’ for cameras to be installed in Ministers’ offices, and wanted to know why it had been put there without Mr Hancock’s permission – and with what motivation. It was speculated that the images had been caught by ‘a small covert camera that had been placed in a light fixture’.

In fact, pictures taken in September 2017, just before Mr Hancock moved in, show that the camera which caught the clinch is clearly visible on the ceiling of his office.

It is trained on the area by the doorway where the couple embraced.

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt today said the leak of the footage had ‘possibly’ been a breach of the Official Secrets Act.

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show he said: ‘We have, rightly in this country as a democracy, as an open society, protection for whistleblowers who find things out and release them in the public interest and we don’t want to undermine that, it’s very important part of how we work.

‘But I do think we need to understand how this happened, and to make sure that ministers are secure in their offices, to be able to have conversations that they know aren’t going to be leaked to hostile powers.’

Mr Lewis also told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show that the investigatory team will be looking into the issue ‘across Government’, adding: ‘I have to say I always take the view it’s best to assume that everything you’re saying or putting in writing is going to be reported somewhere.’

Former Cabinet ministers Alan Johnson and Rory Stewart both said there had never been cameras in their offices during their time in government.

Mr Johnson told Trevor Phillips On Sunday: ‘I could never understand why there was a camera in the Secretary of State’s office. There was never a camera in my office when I was health secretary or in any of the other five Cabinet positions.’

Mr Stewart, who was International Development Secretary from May to July 2019, said in a tweet: ‘I definitely did not know that there were cameras in any of my ministerial offices (in fact I was told – when I asked if there were any cameras – that there were not cameras in my office in DfiD).’

He added: ‘If it were a departmental camera – perhaps focused on the door for security reasons – then it would be seen by the security officers.

‘Someone else installing it would have some challenges – security passes, doors, access to ministerial office etc.’


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