Labour Calls For Matt Hancock To Be Sacked After Publication Of Kissing Pictures
Boris Johnson is under growing pressure to sack Matt Hancock after the health secretary admitted breaching coronavirus rules but refused to resign over pictures where he appears to be kissing aide Gina Coladangelo.
Hancock apologised on Friday after pictures leaked to The Sun showed him embracing Gina Coladangelo, in what the newspaper said was evidence of an extra-marital affair.
In a statement, the minister said: "I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances. I have let people down and am very sorry.
"I remain focused on working to get the country out of this pandemic, and would be grateful for privacy for my family on this personal matter".
But Labour Party Chair Anneliese Dodds had said Hancock's position is "hopelessly untenable" and that "Boris Johnson should sack him".
“If Matt Hancock has been secretly having a relationship with an adviser in his office — who he personally appointed to a taxpayer-funded role — it is a blatant abuse of power and a clear conflict of interest," Dodds said.
Downing Street is also under pressure to explain how Hancock's encounter with Coladangelo, which The Sun says was filmed inside the health department on 6 May, was compatible with coronavirus laws in place at the time.
But according to the prime minister's spokesperson, Boris Johnson has accepted Hancock's apology and "considers the matter closed".
Labour, however, are so far unwilling to let the matter lie.
“This matter is definitely not closed, despite the Government’s attempts to cover it up," a Labour spokesperson said.
“Matt Hancock appears to have been caught breaking the laws he created while having a secret relationship with an aide he appointed to a taxpayer-funded job. The Prime Minister recently described him as “useless” - the fact that even now he still can’t sack him shows how spineless he is.”
Angela Rayner, Labour's deputy leader issued a succinct plea for Hancock to be removed from his job.
The law at this stage of the government's coronavirus roadmap stated "no person may participate in a gathering" which "consists of two or more people" and "takes place indoors".
There were exceptions for workplace meetings but only for "reasonably necessary" purposes.The Liberal Democrats have also called for Hancock to be sacked.
Munira Wilson, the party's Spokesperson for Health and Social Care, said: "Matt Hancock is a terrible Health Secretary and should have been sacked a long time ago for his failures.
"This latest episode of hypocrisy will break the trust with the British public. He was telling families not to hug loved ones, while doing whatever he liked in the workplace.
"It’s clear that he does not share the public’s values. Rules for them and rules for us is no way to run a country.
"From the PPE scandal, the crisis in our care service and the unbelievably poor test and trace system, he has utterly failed. It is time for the Health Secretary to go".
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