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Hancock admits ‘failure of leadership’ over affair with assistant

West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has admitted his affair with his assistant Gina Coladangelo in the midst of the Covid pandemic was a “failure of leadership”.

The former health secretary, who was forced to quit last year after video footage emerged of them kissing in his office in breach of social distancing rules he had set, said he hoped people would forgive him for a “human error”.

In an interview with The Mail+ to coincide with his return from ITV’s I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!, he said they had fallen “deeply” in love and as a result his “political judgment was off”.

Matt Hancock at Westminster today
Matt Hancock at Westminster today

“I want forgiveness for the mistake I made, the failure of leadership at the end of the pandemic when I fell in love with Gina and I broke the guidance that I’d signed off,” he said.

“I want forgiveness for the human error I made… but I’m not asking for forgiveness for how I handled the pandemic.

“I woke up every single morning determined to do the very best I could in the most impossible circumstances until I needed to go to bed at night. I did that for 18 months.

“There is a good, honest explanation for every single decision I made, whether it turned out to be right or not.”

Mr Hancock, who like Ms Coladangelo, was married with three children when they embarked on their affair, said he was not seeking forgiveness for falling in love with her “because I love her very deeply”.

“We realised what was happening was of huge consequence that would last for the rest of our lives but… this was an affaire de coeur and therefore my political judgment was off,” he said.

He said that he had faced “horrific” abuse after he announced that he was appearing on the reality TV show while still an MP.

“It’s been absolutely horrific, especially for Gina. I’ve had an absolute bucket of shit poured over my head,” he said.

Earlier today, Mr Hancock's call for dyslexia screening failed when his Bill ran out of time.