The former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has addressed his extramarital affair with Gina Coladangelo in a new interview, claiming he has never had "casual sex" with anybody.
Hancock, the MP for West Suffolk, was forced to resign from his role as Health secretary last year when footage showed him snogging his aide in his office at a time when the government was recommending social distancing from non-family members.
The photos were published by The Sun on May 6 2021, and video also showed Hancock checking to make sure the coast was clear before engaging in the illicit activity.
Now the ex-Cabinet minister has opened up about the scandal in an interview on the Diary of a CEO podcast by Dragon’s Den member Steven Bartlett.
The pair discussed themes including Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings, but when the conversation turned to Hancock’s affair, the atmosphere became frosty.
“In September 2020,” Steven began, "There was guidance to stop us having casual sex with people outside our household etc… Right?”
“Do you think you could ask the question a little bit more respectfully?” Hancock replied.
“Should we just start this section again?… I don’t mind all of it except for the opening bit about casual sex. I haven’t had casual sex with anybody. I fell in love with somebody.
“There’s a way that we can do this bit of the conversation, but we cannot do it with you starting asking about casual sex… This bit is really hard for me.”
The pair did eventually get on to discussing the former Health Secretary’s behaviour, and he accepted that his actions had been wrong.
“I resigned because I broke the social distancing guidelines. By then they weren't actually rules, they weren’t the law but that’s not the point. The point is they were the guidelines that I’d been proposing.
“That happened because I fell in love with somebody.”
Hancock described how his relationship with Gina had developed, having met working on student radio at Oxford University.
The MP said the now-couple had worked closely together during the pandemic, as Gina had been brought in to help him communicate information in a more “emotionally intelligent” way, when they began dating.
Despite his new-found romance, Hancock reflected that the “public” breakdown of his marriage with his wife Martha, with whom he has three children, had been “awful”.
But, he stressed: “Gina and I love each other very deeply.”
When the footage was initially released, Hancock apologised but refused to resign. However, he admitted that his position changed when he was contacted by angry friends.
“It was when people got in contact and told me about things that they had been not able to do, like seeing dying relatives, and I realised that it was unsustainable," he confessed.
“Going through that is undoubtedly the hardest thing I’ve ever done, by a long, long way.”
But, despite “fessing up” to his mistakes, Hancock was defensive of the Prime Minister over the current party-gate scandal.
“That’s obviously very difficult, but I do think that you’ve got to look at the big picture of we’re coming out of the pandemic now, and that’s in large part because of the big calls,” he claimed.
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