Questions were being asked last night as to how long Matt Hancock‘s affair with a top aide was going on before they were caught out.
As friends said the pair were a ‘love match’ and possibly looking at moving in together, Westminster sources said rumours have abounded about their closeness for more than a year.
Mr Hancock finally resigned from his position as Health Secretary on Saturday, more than a day after CCTV showed him in a passionate clinch with glamorous aide Gina Coladangelo.
It then emerged the 42-year-old had abandoned his wife as well as his job.
And Miss Coladangelo, 43, has left her homeware tycoon husband, Oliver Tress.
Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s wife Martha Hancock, a 44-year-old osteopath, pictured outside her North London home yesterday
Matt Hancock’s rule-breaking affair with millionaire aide Gina Coladangelo (pictured)
The Hancocks, Gina Coladangelo and Oliver Tress: How they met and the affair that has torn them apart
Mr Hancock resigned as Health Secretary less than 48 hours after pictures emerged of him in a passionate embrace with Gina Coladangelo, pictured together above
- 1993: Oliver Tress opens the first Oliver Bonas store on London’s Fulham Road
- 1995: Matt Hancock starts studying PPE at the same time as Gina Coladangelo at Oxford University, where he also meets his future wife Martha Millar
- 1998: Matt Hancock and Gina Coladangelo graduate from Oxford, where they also worked on studio radio
- 2006: Matt Hancock marries Martha Millar
- 2002: Gina Coladangelo starts working at lobbying firm Luther Pendragon, where she stays until 2014
- 2011: Oliver Tress and Gina Coladangelo are believed to have married around this year
- 2014: Gina Coladangelo starts working as marketing and communications director at Oliver Bonas
- 2018: Matt Hancock becomes Health Secretary
- 2020: Gina Coladangelo is hired by Matt Hancock as a non-executive director at the Department of Health. But she may have been advising him since 2019
- May 6, 2021: Colleagues kiss passionately in his Whitehall office
- June 3: Matt and Gina head to Oxford together for G7 health summit and may have stayed together
- June 25: The Sun reveals the affair after CCTV emerges of them kissing
- June 26: Matt Hancock resigns as Health Secretary and the new couple go to ground
Yesterday the pair were lying low, staying out of the public eye following the pictures that showed them kissing and groping against the door in Mr Hancock’s ministerial office.
But betrayed wife Martha Hancock, 44, an osteopath of aristocratic descent, emerged from her home in north London to walk the dog.
Mrs Hancock is said to be suffering from Long Covid, thought to have been caught from her husband in March last year. She maintained a dignified silence – but was still wearing her wedding ring.
Friends insisted the extramarital affair only began in May, the same month that Mr Hancock and Miss Coladangelo were caught in the incriminating footage.
But others said the pair, who have known each other since university days when they met at Oxford, have raised eyebrows for some time.
Miss Coladangelo was confronted as long ago as 2019 by ministerial aides who asked outright if there was any romance between the pair, something the twice-married mother-of-three flatly denied.
It was thought Miss Coladangelo was taking refuge in a rental home on the south coast last night. It was unclear where Mr Hancock was, with no sign of him at either his marital home in London or constituency address in Suffolk.
‘He is in love with Gina,’ a close friend said. ‘It started recently, but is serious.’
Other sources said the ‘love match’ had featured intimate restaurant meals and a hotel stay during a summit.
Mr Hancock’s demise began late on Thursday afternoon. He had been in the House of Commons, defending his department’s controversial plans to share data on tens of millions of National Health Service patients with outside organisations.
After saying his piece and leaving, he received a call from The Sun newspaper at around 6pm, informing him that they had photos and video of him kissing his aide in his office, taken on May 6.
After saying as little as possible to the journalist, he returned to the London residence he shares with wife Martha, when they are not at their home in his Suffolk constituency, and their three children.
Mr Hancock is understood to have told her that the story was set to appear, about the photographs it contained and that their marriage was over.
He then woke their youngest son, who is just eight-years-old, to tell him too that he was going.
Family friends said yesterday it was a bombshell from nowhere for Martha. She had believed their marriage had been ‘happy and stable’, and reportedly had no suspicions over her Facebook friend, whom she had also met while at Oxford.
Mrs Hancock is said to be suffering from Long Covid, thought to have been caught from her husband in March last year. She maintained a dignified silence – but was still wearing her wedding ring
The Hancock family had enjoyed Christmas parties with Miss Coladangelo and her husband, a joint founder of the Oliver Bonas retail chain
Matt Hancock hands his coat to his aide Gina Coladangelo before a television interview outside BBC’s Broadcasting House in London, May 16, 2021
Who leaked the CCTV of Hancock’s passionate kiss with his top aide?
It is a guessing game which has engrossed politicians and the public alike.
Just who leaked the compromising footage which cost Matt Hancock his job and marriage – and why?
Rebecca Camber presents the possible culprits.
Yesterday it was suggested that a member of staff within the Department of Health approached lockdown sceptics and asked them to help sell the incendiary footage. Messages purportedly sent by the leaker via Instagram promised: ‘I have some very damning CCTV footage of someone that has been recently classed as completely f*****g hopeless.’
Day-to-day security at government buildings is typically contracted out to private firms, who are unlikely to sign the Official Secrets Act and therefore could escape any criminal sanction for the leak.
One possibility is that a guard who was aware of the footage leaked it for financial gain.
-Hostile foreign power
Officials have latched on to the fact that the CCTV cameras in the office were made by Hikvision, a Chinese firm banned in the US over concerns that it could be used by Beijing as a spying tool. The company denies the claim, saying there is no evidence that its data is relayed to China.
Dr Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society has raised the prospect of a ‘bug’ being planted by a hostile state
The Hancock family had enjoyed Christmas parties with Miss Coladangelo and her husband, a joint founder of the Oliver Bonas retail chain.
Miss Coladangelo was seen on Thursday evening, shortly after the newspaper’s phone call, outside the £4million mansion she shares with her husband and children. He was reportedly helping her load her car with belongings.
She is said to be lying low at a house in West Sussex and – on Friday as the scandal gathered pace – to have been ‘cheery’. On that day, despite the devastating headlines and an instant storm of calls for Mr Hancock to resign, both he and Downing Street insisted they were standing firm.
By late morning, Mr Hancock had finally conceded he may have behaved wrongly, apologising for breaching social distancing rules – but he insisted that he was staying in the job.
He and Miss Coladangelo had come a long way since they met on Oxford student radio station Oxygen FM in the late ’90s. She was the star of the show, presenting a politics programme, with many male admirers – while Mr Hancock, according to his fellow volunteers, was a lowly sports reporter.
Miss Coladangelo even told Radio 4 how when he was given a rare free ticket to commentate on a rugby match, he ended up oversleeping and failing to get to the stadium on time.
Instead, he watched the match on a pub television screen – but phoned his report in at half-time, pretending he had been at the game in person.
The lies and bluffing finally came to an end early on Saturday evening, when Mr Hancock visited the Prime Minister’s country residence Chequers then issued a video resigning his post. Mr Hancock said: ‘The last thing I would want is for my private life to distract attention from the single-minded focus that is leading us out of this crisis.’
There were calls last night for Mr Hancock to be stripped of his £16,000 severance pay. The payment is standard to ministers in whatever circumstances they leave their role.
Labour housing spokesman Lucy Powell told Sky’s Trevor Phillips On Sunday that people would be ‘appalled to think that there’s going to be a severance payment to Matt Hancock in this circumstance’.
She added: ‘We will certainly be calling that out and asking the Prime Minister not to give him that.’
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
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