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Matt Hancock says breaking Covid rules during affair with Gina Colangelo was 'failure of leadership'

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Former health secretary and Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has said breaking the Covid guidance when he had an affair with a colleague amounted to a 'failure of leadership'.

The disgraced West Suffolk MP was speaking to BBC Look East's political correspondent Andrew Sinclair at Newmarket Racecourse during a mass vaccination clinic yesterday.

Mr Sinclair asked the MP, who represents Newmarket and Haverhill, if he understood why people were 'very angry' at him after pictures of him kissing his aide Gina Colangelo were published by The Sun newspaper in June, after which he resigned as health secretary.

Matt Hancock
Matt Hancock

Mr Hancock replied: "Of course, of course I do. I'm sorry for those I've let down. I also find people have been forgiving too which I'm grateful for."

The politician, who received his booster jab at Newmarket Racecourse yesterday, added: "Well what I can say is what I really feel which was that it was a failure of leadership, I apologised and I'm very happy to reiterate that.

"I feel that very strongly as well and what really matters as a country, both for us here in West Suffolk, those who I represent and more broadly, is that we get through this by doing things like what we're doing today, which is getting vaccinated."

On the topic of what was next for him, the Suffolk MP said he was enjoying representing West Suffolk in parliament and contributing to parliamentary debates.

"We've had a debate in the last few weeks on horseracing," he said.

"In fact, I'm bringing forward a new bill to change the law to support people with dyslexia, I'm dyslexic and I want to see more support.

"So there's a lot that you can do for the people who you serve from the back benches and I worked pretty hard for quite a long time during the pandemic so I'm enjoying spending a bit more time up here in Suffolk than I was able to."