Matt Hancock’s lover had Commons pass ‘months before starting job’

Disgraced former health secretary Matt Hancock is facing fresh questions over parliamentary passes granted to his lover.

Reports today suggest that Gina Coladangelo had a House of Commons pass through his office from June 2019 to February 2020.

Sources told the Observer that she began advising Mr Hancock in an unpaid capacity in early 2020.

That was months before Mr Hancock handed his old university friend a £15,000-a-year role as a non-executive director at the Department of Health last September.

Under Parliamentary rules, any additional job must be listed if it “is in any way advantaged by the privileged access to parliament afforded by your pass”.

At the time, her only declared work was as marketing and communications director at Oliver Bonas, the retailer founded by her husband, Oliver Tress.

The previous year she had helped him with his failed leadership bid.

Mr Hancock was forced to quit last weekend after CCTV emerged of him kissing Ms Coladangelo in his office in breach of social distancing rules.

The top Tory already faces questions over why his lover was subsequently given a pass through the office of Lord Bethell, a health minister who donated to Hancock’s leadership campaign.

Guidance around the sponsoring of passes states that they should only be awarded to those “requiring access to the Parliamentary estate to undertake work”.

Lord Bethell today wrote to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, who has been asked to investigate, claiming Ms Coladangelo gave him unpaid support.

But he declined to give any evidence of the work she actually did for him.

There was further mystery over her role after it was claimed she was at mMr Hancock’s side when he threw an ‘intimate’ drinks party in July 2019.

The Mail on Sunday reported how the couple ‘held court’ at the event in his large office at the Department of Health.

Mr Hancock also faces claims that he asked people to “call me the Minister for Hugs” just a few days after the fateful embrace, but before it was exposed.

He allegedly cracked the cringeworthy joke as he prepared for a TV interview on May 17 about the loosening of Covid restrictions, which permitted ‘cautious cuddles’.

Mr Hancock’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Labour party chair Anneliese Dodds called on new Health Secretary Sajid Javid to explain his colleagues’ actions.

“Why was Gina Coladangelo granted the right to enter Parliament unchecked when he launched his bid to become their leader?” she asked.

“What work did she do for him in Parliament? And why did Hancock’s chum Lord Bethell dish her out a pass to the Lords after her Commons one had expired?
“There cannot be one rule for the Conservatives and their friends and another for everyone else.”

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