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26 June 2021updated 20 Aug 2021 8:49am

Matt Hancock resigns as Health Secretary – but serious questions remain

The Health Secretary has failed to address the conflict of interest over Gina Colandangelo’s appointment as a taxpayer-funded aide.

By Ailbhe Rea

Matt Hancock has resigned as Health Secretary after his relationship with his aide Gina Colandangelo was exposed. In his letter to Boris Johnson, he wrote: “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. I want to reiterate my apology for breaking the guidance, and apologise to my family and loved ones for putting them through this. I also need to be with my children at this time.”  

Support for Hancock among Conservative MPs is understood to have drained over the weekend amid growing public anger at the revelations. Their support is also thought to have been strained by the discovery that Hancock informed his wife, who was unaware of any improper relationship with Colandangelo, that he was leaving her on Thursday evening before the Sun published the photograph of him and Colandangelo embracing.

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Hancock’s resignation relieves much of the scrutiny on his private life at a difficult time for his family and three children. But he has continued to frame his indiscretion as a breach of Covid rules, rather than addressing the more serious issue of how he and his colleagues conducted themselves at the Department of Health during the pandemic and of the potential conflict of interest in Colandengelo’s original appointment. Those questions won’t go away.