TO the astonishment, not to say amusement, of many people, UK Government Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has been pictured in a passionate embrace with an aide, Gina Coladangelo. They were caught on CCTV at the department last month and the images were leaked to The Sun.

Given the encounter was a clear breach of the Covid-19 rules that he is in charge of for England and Wales, and given that both he and Coladangelo are married to other people, you might expect that Hancock would have either fallen on his sword or been booted out of the UK Government – but in this Tory regime, all he had to say was “sorry” and Prime Minister Boris Johnson accepted the apology and considered the matter closed.

“Move along now, nothing to see here” is fast becoming the motto of Johnson’s government.


HE is the man who rose without a trace, a middle-ranking minister in both Theresa May and Boris Johnson’s cabinets, seen as not very exciting and possibly not even very competent, with a touch of the Tim Nice-But-Dim about him.

Then along came coronavirus and suddenly the Health Secretary was big news, fronting many important UK Government announcements, especially when Boris Johnson was hospitalised and recuperating from Covid-19.

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Interestingly, Hancock announced that he, too, had tested positive for Covid-19, doing so within minutes of Downing Street confirming that Johnson had it. Unlike the PM, Hancock was able to return to work within seven days.

Born in Cheshire in 1978, Hancock was educated at the private King’s School in Chester before attending a further education college to study computing.

He then gained degrees from both Oxford and Cambridge universities, joining the Conservatives in 1999.

He began his working life in the family’s computer software business before becoming an economist with the Bank of England. He then spent a period as chief of staff to the shadow chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne.

Hancock married his osteopath wife Martha Hancock in 2005. They have three children, one of whom is adopted.

Always intent on a career in politics, Hancock was selected to fight the safe seat of West Suffolk which he has held since 2010.

He moved swiftly through the junior ministerial ranks and as minister for the Cabinet Office in 2016 he loyally supported David Cameron’s stance on the UK remaining in the EU.

Theresa May slightly demoted him after she became PM, but in January 2018, she promoted him to the Cabinet as secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport.

When Jeremy Hunt became foreign secretary on the resignation of Boris Johnson, May moved Hancock to the health portfolio.

He briefly stood for the leadership of the Tories following May’s departure, but gained only 20 votes in the first ballot and swiftly backed the eventual winner by endorsing Johnson.

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Hancock once trained to be a jockey and won a race at Newmarket in 2012. He is cricket-mad and his government profile states that he once played in “the most northerly game of cricket on record, and succumbed to frostbite en route to the Pole. He retains all his fingers”.

He has survived several scandals over the years, notably the accusations of “hopelessness” made about him by Dominic Cummings and a High Court ruling against him for breaching rules on the publication of government contracts.


MINDFUL of the old newspaper rule that one passionate embrace does not an affair make, the pictures do suggest that Hancock is somewhat enamoured of Gina Coladangelo, 43, whom he has known since university days – they both worked on the student radio station.

She is married to Oliver Tress, the millionaire owner of the Oliver Bonas fashion chain which has branches in Glasgow and Edinburgh. They have three children.

Gina Coladangelo has worked in public relations and lobbying and is both communications director for her husband’s firm and a major shareholder of the London-based lobbying and public relations firm Luther Pendragon.

Hancock appointed his “chum” to be an unpaid adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care on a six-month contract in March last year. She was subsequently appointed as a non-executive director at the Department of Health and has stated without irony that her role is to “oversee and monitor performance”.