Matt Hancock’s appointment of a close personal friend as an aide would have gone through an “incredibly rigorous” process according to one minister.
Questions about Matt Hancock’s appointment of former lobbyist Gina Coladangelo began after pictures in The Sun newspaper appeared to show the married Health Secretary kissing the aide in his office.
Last year The Sunday Times reported that Mr Hancock had failed to declare it was he who appointed Ms Coladangelo as an aide, and later gave her a role on the board of the Department of Health. On the department’s website she is listed as a non-executive director.
In every one of his TV & Radio interviews this morning Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
I don’t want to comment on something that is an entirely personal matter. In terms of rules, anyone who’s been appointed has to go through an incredibly rigorous process in government. Whatever the rules are, the rules will have to be followed.”
Asked whether they would have been followed to the letter, Mr Shapps replied:
“I think it’s a bit of a red herring in this case. I think it’s really a personal story, so I don’t intend to comment on somebody’s personal life.”
The photo has also raised questions about whether Mr Hancock broke the government’s own lockdown laws. At the time the picture was reportedly taken on 6th May, hugging anyone outside your household or bubble was not allowed.
Last year after it was revealed that one of the government’s top scientific advisers Professor Neil Ferguson had broken lockdown rules, Mr Hancock said he was “speechless.”