Britain’s health minister, Matt Hancock, has admitted breaching social distancing after photos of him kissing an aide were published in a British newspaper.
He said he was “disappointed” after photos surfaced of him with Gina Coladangelo, whom he nominated himself for the position, and “sorry”.
Since then, Labor has put enormous pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to fire Hancock, saying the situation is “unsustainable”.
But those close to the prime minister say Boris Johnson has accepted Hancock’s apology and “considers it closed”.
Asked if the prime minister had “full confidence” in Hancock, Boris Johnson’s spokesman replied: “Yes.”
Newspaper the sunAnd the Whoever posted the photos, claimed that the photos of Hancock and Collangelo, both married and have children, were taken inside the Department of Health in early May 2021.
Social distancing in the workplace is not a legal requirement, but the government recommends it.
People are advised to stay two meters apart whenever possible, or one meter while mitigating risks.
On May 6, when England was still in phase 2 of covid-19 restrictions, it was allowed to meet indoors for business purposes, but only when “absolutely necessary”.
“If Matt Hancock had a secret relationship with a consultant in his office, who appointed him personally to a taxpayer-funded role, that is a blatant abuse of power and a clear conflict of interest,” said Labor Chair Annalize Dodds. .
“His position is hopelessly unsustainable. Boris Johnson must fire him.”
The party said it would not let the matter fall after people close to the prime minister said it considered the matter “over”.
“This matter has certainly not been closed despite the government’s attempts to cover it up,” a spokesman said.
A government spokesman said Coladangelo’s appointment “was done in the usual manner” and “followed the correct procedures”.
In a statement, Hancock, a 42-year-old man and father of three, said: “I agree that I broke social orientation in these circumstances. I’ve let people down, and I’m sorry.”
“I remain focused on working to get the country out of this pandemic and would be grateful to maintain my family’s privacy on this personal matter.”
Hancock canceled a visit to the COVID-19 vaccine center at Newmarket Racecourse in West Suffolk Circle on Friday morning (06-25), just hours after the story was published by the sun.
Coladangelo, who knows the Minister of Health since they worked together at Oxford University Student Radio, was appointed Non-Executive Director of the Department of Health in September 2020.
She receives a salary of 15,000 pounds (102,000 Brazilian riyals), for between 15 and 20 working days per year.
Liberal Democrats are calling for Hancock to resign and accusing him of “hypocrisy” due to social distancing.
“Families were being asked not to hug their loved ones while doing what they wanted in the workplace,” said health spokeswoman Munira Wilson.
Hancock’s ministerial colleagues rallied around him, with International Development Secretary Liz Truss telling the BBC: “Hancock has my support (in the cabinet). This is a personal matter.”
Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps told the program TodayGive BBC Radio 4: “I think for a long time there was a whole difference between what people do in their work… and what they do in their personal lives.”
Hancock has been married for 15 years to Martha, who is an orthopedic doctor. Coladangelo, 43, is married to Oliver Tres, founder of the Oliver Bonas women’s clothing and accessories store.
In May 2020, epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson resigned from the government’s Scientific Advisory Group (Sage) after they found out he had violated lockdown rules when a woman he had a relationship with visited his home.
At the time, Hancock called Ferguson’s actions “ridiculous”, adding that social distancing rules “are there for everyone” and “mortally dangerous”.
This Friday, Wales Labor Prime Minister Mark Druckford said Hancock was “quick to condemn” Ferguson, adding: “Certainly here in Wales I always expect all of our ministerial staff to follow the rules we hope others follow.
“We cannot make laws for other people and we are not prepared to comply with them either.”
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