Matt Hancock’s long Covid-hit wife ‘thought their marriage was happy and stable’

Matt Hancock woke up his eight-year-old son to inform him that he was leaving his mother as troubling questions were being asked about how long his affair with a top aide was going on before they were caught out, it was revealed today.

The former Health Secretary’s now estranged wife Martha, 44, is said to have been poleaxed when her husband told her on Thursday that their marriage was over and he was in love with his aide Gina Coladangelo. Mrs Hancock had believed their relationship was ‘happy and stable’ until that moment, a friend said.

As friends said the pair were a ‘love match’ and possibly looking at moving in together, Westminster sources said rumours have abounded about their closeness for more than a year.

Mr Hancock finally resigned from his position as Health Secretary on Saturday, more than a day after CCTV showed him in a passionate clinch with Miss Coladangelo, a twice married mother-of-three. It then emerged the 42-year-old had abandoned his wife as well as his job. And Miss Coladangelo, 43, has left her homeware tycoon husband, Oliver Tress.

Mr Hancock’s demise began late on Thursday afternoon. He had been in the House of Commons, defending his department’s controversial plans to share data on tens of millions of National Health Service patients with outside organisations.

After saying his piece and leaving, he received a call from The Sun newspaper at around 6pm, informing him that they had photos and video of him kissing his aide in his office, taken on May 6.

After saying as little as possible to the journalist, he returned to the London residence he shares with wife Martha, when they are not at their home in his Suffolk constituency, and their three children.

Mr Hancock is understood to have told her that the story was set to appear, about the photographs it contained and that their marriage was over. He then woke their youngest son, who is just eight-years-old, to tell him too that he was going.

Family friends said yesterday it was a bombshell from nowhere for Martha. She had believed their marriage had been ‘happy and stable’, and reportedly had no suspicions over her Facebook friend, whom she had also met while at Oxford.

As unanswered questions remain over the affair, it also emerged today: 

  • The shamed couple are lying low as their heartbroken spouses pick up the pieces after their affair – with Mr Hancock facing probe-after-probe over his conduct in office;
  • Boris Johnson tried to stand by adulterer Matt Hancock but cabinet support drained away with ministers unwilling to defend him in public;  
  • There were calls last night for Mr Hancock to be stripped of his £16,000 severance pay. The payment is standard to ministers in whatever circumstances they leave their role; 
  • Justice Secretary Robert Buckland hints police and MI5 should probe the leaking of office CCTV that sank his friend and said: ‘On the face of it, this was an unauthorised sharing of data’;  
  • Labour is demanding Matt Hancock be investigated for attempting to ‘conduct Government business in secret’ by using a personal email account. He was accused yesterday of misleading the public over his insistence that he had not helped a former pub landlord win a lucrative coronavirus contract;
Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock's wife Martha Hancock, a 44-year-old osteopath, pictured outside her North London home yesterday

Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock's wife Martha Hancock, a 44-year-old osteopath, pictured outside her North London home yesterday

Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s wife Martha Hancock, a 44-year-old osteopath, pictured outside her North London home yesterday

Matt Hancock's rule-breaking affair with millionaire aide Gina Coladangelo (pictured)

Matt Hancock's rule-breaking affair with millionaire aide Gina Coladangelo (pictured)

Matt Hancock’s rule-breaking affair with millionaire aide Gina Coladangelo (pictured)

Mrs Hancock is said to be suffering from Long Covid, thought to have been caught from her husband in March last year. She maintained a dignified silence – but was still wearing her wedding ring

Mrs Hancock is said to be suffering from Long Covid, thought to have been caught from her husband in March last year. She maintained a dignified silence – but was still wearing her wedding ring

Mrs Hancock is said to be suffering from Long Covid, thought to have been caught from her husband in March last year. She maintained a dignified silence – but was still wearing her wedding ring

The Hancock family had enjoyed Christmas parties with Miss Coladangelo and her husband, a joint founder of the Oliver Bonas retail chain

The Hancock family had enjoyed Christmas parties with Miss Coladangelo and her husband, a joint founder of the Oliver Bonas retail chain

The Hancock family had enjoyed Christmas parties with Miss Coladangelo and her husband, a joint founder of the Oliver Bonas retail chain

The Hancocks, Gina Coladangelo and Oliver Tress: How they met and the affair that has torn them apart 

Mr Hancock resigned as Health Secretary less than 48 hours after pictures emerged of him in a passionate embrace with Gina Coladangelo, pictured together above

Mr Hancock resigned as Health Secretary less than 48 hours after pictures emerged of him in a passionate embrace with Gina Coladangelo, pictured together above

Mr Hancock resigned as Health Secretary less than 48 hours after pictures emerged of him in a passionate embrace with Gina Coladangelo, pictured together above 

  • 1993: Oliver Tress opens the first Oliver Bonas store on London’s Fulham Road
  • 1995: Matt Hancock starts studying PPE at the same time as Gina Coladangelo at Oxford University, where he also meets his future wife Martha Millar
  • 1998: Matt Hancock and Gina Coladangelo graduate from Oxford, where they also worked on studio radio
  • 2006: Matt Hancock marries Martha Millar
  • 2002: Gina Coladangelo starts working at lobbying firm Luther Pendragon, where she stays until 2014
  • 2011: Oliver Tress and Gina Coladangelo are believed to have married around this year
  • 2014: Gina Coladangelo starts working as marketing and communications director at Oliver Bonas
  • 2018: Matt Hancock becomes Health Secretary
  • 2020: Gina Coladangelo is hired by Matt Hancock as a non-executive director at the Department of Health. But she may have been advising him since 2019
  • May 6, 2021: Colleagues kiss passionately in his Whitehall office 
  • June 3: Matt and Gina head to Oxford together for G7 health summit and may have stayed together  
  • June 25: The Sun reveals the affair after CCTV emerges of them kissing
  • June 26: Matt Hancock resigns as Health Secretary and the new couple go to ground 

 

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Yesterday the pair were lying low, staying out of the public eye following the pictures that showed them kissing and groping against the door in Mr Hancock’s ministerial office.

But betrayed wife Martha Hancock, 44, an osteopath of aristocratic descent, emerged from her home in north London to walk the dog.

Mrs Hancock is said to be suffering from Long Covid, thought to have been caught from her husband in March last year. She maintained a dignified silence – but was still wearing her wedding ring.

Friends insisted the extramarital affair only began in May, the same month that Mr Hancock and Miss Coladangelo were caught in the incriminating footage.

But others said the pair, who have known each other since university days when they met at Oxford, have raised eyebrows for some time.

Miss Coladangelo was confronted as long ago as 2019 by ministerial aides who asked outright if there was any romance between the pair, something the twice-married mother-of-three flatly denied.

It was thought Miss Coladangelo was taking refuge in a rental home on the south coast last night. It was unclear where Mr Hancock was, with no sign of him at either his marital home in London or constituency address in Suffolk.

‘He is in love with Gina,’ a close friend said. ‘It started recently, but is serious.’

Other sources said the ‘love match’ had featured intimate restaurant meals and a hotel stay during a summit.

The Hancock family had enjoyed Christmas parties with Miss Coladangelo and her husband, a joint founder of the Oliver Bonas retail chain.

Miss Coladangelo was seen on Thursday evening, shortly after the newspaper’s phone call, outside the £4million mansion she shares with her husband and children. He was reportedly helping her load her car with belongings.

She is said to be lying low at a house in West Sussex and – on Friday as the scandal gathered pace – to have been ‘cheery’. On that day, despite the devastating headlines and an instant storm of calls for Mr Hancock to resign, both he and Downing Street insisted they were standing firm.

By late morning, Mr Hancock had finally conceded he may have behaved wrongly, apologising for breaching social distancing rules – but he insisted that he was staying in the job.

He and Miss Coladangelo had come a long way since they met on Oxford student radio station Oxygen FM in the late ’90s. She was the star of the show, presenting a politics programme, with many male admirers – while Mr Hancock, according to his fellow volunteers, was a lowly sports reporter.

Miss Coladangelo even told Radio 4 how when he was given a rare free ticket to commentate on a rugby match, he ended up oversleeping and failing to get to the stadium on time. 

Matt Hancock hands his coat to his aide Gina Coladangelo before a television interview outside BBC's Broadcasting House in London, May 16, 2021

Matt Hancock hands his coat to his aide Gina Coladangelo before a television interview outside BBC's Broadcasting House in London, May 16, 2021

Matt Hancock hands his coat to his aide Gina Coladangelo before a television interview outside BBC’s Broadcasting House in London, May 16, 2021

Who leaked the CCTV of Hancock’s passionate kiss with his top aide? 

It is a guessing game which has engrossed politicians and the public alike.

Just who leaked the compromising footage which cost Matt Hancock his job and marriage – and why? 

Rebecca Camber presents the possible culprits.

-Whistleblower

Yesterday it was suggested that a member of staff within the Department of Health approached lockdown sceptics and asked them to help sell the incendiary footage. Messages purportedly sent by the leaker via Instagram promised: ‘I have some very damning CCTV footage of someone that has been recently classed as completely f*****g hopeless.’

-Security guard

Day-to-day security at government buildings is typically contracted out to private firms, who are unlikely to sign the Official Secrets Act and therefore could escape any criminal sanction for the leak.

One possibility is that a guard who was aware of the footage leaked it for financial gain.

-Hostile foreign power

Officials have latched on to the fact that the CCTV cameras in the office were made by Hikvision, a Chinese firm banned in the US over concerns that it could be used by Beijing as a spying tool. The company denies the claim, saying there is no evidence that its data is relayed to China.

Dr Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society has raised the prospect of a ‘bug’ being planted by a hostile state

 

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Instead, he watched the match on a pub television screen – but phoned his report in at half-time, pretending he had been at the game in person.

The lies and bluffing finally came to an end early on Saturday evening, when Mr Hancock visited the Prime Minister’s country residence Chequers then issued a video resigning his post. Mr Hancock said: ‘The last thing I would want is for my private life to distract attention from the single-minded focus that is leading us out of this crisis.’

There were calls last night for Mr Hancock to be stripped of his £16,000 severance pay. The payment is standard to ministers in whatever circumstances they leave their role.

Labour housing spokesman Lucy Powell told Sky’s Trevor Phillips On Sunday that people would be ‘appalled to think that there’s going to be a severance payment to Matt Hancock in this circumstance’.

She added: ‘We will certainly be calling that out and asking the Prime Minister not to give him that.’ 

A Tory minister today defended Matt Hancock by insisting he had ‘worked without a break’ during the pandemic despite claims he may have been cheating on his wife with an aide for a year including allegedly ‘sh**ging on the taxpayer’ at the G7 summit.

Justice Minister Robert Buckland also defended Boris Johnson for not sacking him immediately and said that Mr Hancock finally quit having realised that his ‘credibility’ was shot – but only after the PM and several ministers defended him for nearly two days. 

Gina Coladangelo was confronted as long ago as 2019 by ministerial aides to Matt Hancock who asked outright if there was any romance between the pair, something the twice-married mother-of-three flatly denied, it has emerged.

The new couple are lying low today and it is thought Miss Coladangelo is taking refuge in a rental home on the south coast. It was unclear where Mr Hancock was, with no sign of him at either his marital home in London or constituency address in Suffolk as he faces a series of probes into his conduct including the decision to appoint Miss Coladangelo, the use of a private Gmail account for work and health contracts secured by friends and acquaintances during the pandemic. 

Mr Buckland told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Matt Hancock is no longer the health secretary – he resigned on Saturday, and I’m amazed we’re having a discussion like this. 

Matt Hancock wrote a letter of resignation (pictured above) to Boris Johnson where he said the Government 'owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down

Matt Hancock wrote a letter of resignation (pictured above) to Boris Johnson where he said the Government 'owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down

Matt Hancock wrote a letter of resignation (pictured above) to Boris Johnson where he said the Government ‘owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down








The key questions Matt Hancock still has to answer about his affair 

What was he using his private Gmail address for at work?

Former health secretary Matt Hancock used a private Gmail account and whether it was used to help conduct his affair in work time.

According to The Sunday Times, Department of Health officials had complained that he ‘only’ deals with his private office ‘via Gmail account’. However sources insist he has had a departmental email address since he became Health Secretary in 2018. 

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said there must be ‘full transparency’ and a ‘full investigation’.

She told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘I’ve written to ensure that there is an investigation into ministers using private emails to conduct official Government business in secret, agreeing contracts in private etc.’

She added: ‘We need full transparency on this and a full investigation.’

Will he take his £16,000 pay-off from the taxpayer?

There were calls last night for Mr Hancock to be stripped of his £16,000 severance pay. 

The payment is standard to ministers in whatever circumstances they leave their role.

Mr Hancock is said to be weighing whether to take it. 

Labour housing spokesman Lucy Powell told Sky’s Trevor Phillips On Sunday that people would be ‘appalled to think that there’s going to be a severance payment to Matt Hancock in this circumstance’. She added: ‘We will certainly be calling that out and asking the Prime Minister not to give him that.’ 

The Daily Telegraph says it understands Mr Hancock will not take the severance payments – a hint that he may still hold a candle of hope that he can become a minister again in future.

Did he share a bed with his aide at the G7 summit?

Matt Hancock is facing fresh questions into whether he pursued his affair with his aide at public expense.

The disgraced former Health Secretary is claimed to have taken mistress Gina Coladangelo, 43, to a G7 health summit in Oxford.

It is not known however if they remained together after the event, which involved a dinner and overnight stay in a luxury hotel in the city where they met as university students.

According to The Sunday Times, it is understood Boris Johnson had no idea of claims his Health Secretary had invited married Mrs Coladangelo to Oxford for the events on June 3 and 4.  

How long was their affair going on?

Friends insisted the extramarital affair only began in May, the same month the pair were caught in the incriminating footage.

But others said the pair, who have known each other since university days when they met at Oxford, have raised eyebrows for some time.

Miss Coladangelo was confronted as long ago as 2019 by ministerial aides who asked outright if there was any romance between the pair, something the twice-married mother-of-three flatly denied.

Does Hancock know who was behind the leak? 

The CCTV leak which led to Mr Hancock’s resignation as Health Secretary has sent shudders through Parliament as ministers demanded to know if there are cameras in their offices and whether security staff have access to audio which could reveal sensitive discussions about key issues posing a risk of national security.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said: ‘I do know that [the leak] is something the Department of Health will be taking forward as an internal investigation.’ 

Why did Coladangelo get a Parliamentary pass? 

Mr Hancock sponsored a Commons pass for Miss Coladangelo between June 2019 and February 2020, but it is not known in what capacity she was working for him or if he declared their friendship. Last September, she was made one of just four non-executive directors in the Department of Health.

And The Times has reported she had a new Parliamentary pass sponsored by junior health minister Lord Bethell – but she never worked for him. 

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‘He resigned because he considered the matter carefully, he could see the issue of credibility was one that was really majoring. Matt Hancock had been I think an incredibly hard-working health secretary over the last three years, in fact, but in the last 16 months somebody who frankly worked without a break to deal with this crisis.’  

Mr Buckland also suggested that police or MI5 should look into how CCTV from inside a minister’s office was leaked and that . He said: ‘I think sweeps [of Government offices] should be conducted regularly, particularly where sensitive material is being handled’. 

It came as Labour MP Fleur Anderson has asked Scotland Yard to investigate Mr Hancock’s clinch with Gina Coladangelo as a breach of Covid restrictions, telling police: ‘These rules are there for everyone’. 

Mr Hancock was today accused of ‘sh**ging on the taxpayer’ after it was revealed he took his mistress to the G7 summit and claims they may have started their affair a year ago with the shamed Tory who has abandoned his wife Martha and is said to have told friends: ‘He loves her and wants to be with her. It’s properly serious’.

The Health Secretary’s trip to a meeting of fellow ministers at Oxford University in early June included an overnight stay – but it is not known if his lover Gina Coladangelo shared his bed four weeks after their CCTV kiss against his office door.

But there are suspicions that they may have enjoyed a night away together in a luxury hotel after a day of working in the city where they met while studying more than 20 years ago. The summit was just 50 miles from his north London family home, which he shared with his wife of 15 years Martha, 44, and their three children – but Mr Hancock decided to have a night away on June 3.  

One cabinet source told The Sunday Times: ‘She went with him to the G7 health ministers summit. Did he disclose this to the PM? If it was shown he was sh**ging on the taxpayer, he had to go. He’s been puritan-in-chief in the government and now it turns out he’s a massive, lying hypocrite’.   

It came as rumours emerged that they may have been having a secret affair for more than a year. The millionaire lobbyist, 43, whose husband is the founder of Oliver Bonas, first started working for Mr Hancock since his failed leadership bid in 2019. 

Justice Minister Robert Buckland squirmed today as he was asked why Boris Johnson said the matter is closed and then changed his mind.

He said: ‘I think there was a swirl of things going on here. There were of course the private matters, the private life matters, and indeed as the hours went by it was clear that there was, I think, an understandable groundswell of concern about how important it is that those who set the rules keep to them and I think that when we look back at this we will see that it took a day or so but the right outcome was achieved and it was correct for Matt Hancock to resign.’

Asked about the leaking of the CCTV, Mr Buckland said: ‘I think that there is an important principle here about the need for ministers and civil servants who often are handling very sensitive material and information to have a safe space within which to work.

‘Now, I accept that CCTV is a factor of all our daily lives, we are probably being filmed in all sorts of places as we go about our lawful business.

‘But I do think that there is a wider issue here of concern that we should all satisfy ourselves about that there isn’t inappropriate coverage being taken of sensitive matters which could be used in a way by those who wish us ill, other unfriendly governments or other people who do not have the interests of our country at heart. 

When asked if he had a secret camera in his office he said: ‘I have asked that question. I don’t think so. I have never seen any camera facilities.

‘I know there is CCTV in the building for obvious security reasons but I am sure that many of my colleagues ill be asking the same question and making sure that the offices are swept just in case there are unauthorised devices in there that could be a national security breach.

‘I think that is the sensible thing to do’, adding: ‘I think frankly sweeps should be conducted regularly, particularly where sensitive material is being handled’. 

Tory MPs also started to turn against Mr Hancock over the weekend as they were deluged with complaints from constituents about his conduct.

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said the PM had made a misjudgment in initially trying to keep him in post.

‘Loyalty is normally a virtue,’ he said. ‘But it became clear within hours that Matt Hancock was losing the confidence of the public.

‘A lot of colleagues raised that with the Chief Whip and No 10 on Saturday morning. The moment he lost public confidence, how could he stand up and say people have to adhere to these rules when he had broken them himself?’ Mr Hancock quit on Saturday night, around 40 hours after CCTV pictures emerged of him in a passionate embrace in his office with glamourous married aide Gina Coladangelo.

In his resignation letter, which followed private talks in No 10 with the PM, he said he did not want to ‘distract attention’ from efforts to fight Covid.

In reply, Mr Johnson said he could be ‘very proud’ of his record during the pandemic. 

No 10 sources said the Prime Minister had only agreed ‘reluctantly’ to accept his resignation. Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis yesterday said Mr Hancock had ‘made the right judgment’ in quitting.  








No 10 sources said the Prime Minister had only agreed 'reluctantly' to accept his resignation. It came after fellow Cabinet ministers warned they were unwilling to support him in public after the PM insisted the matter was closed

No 10 sources said the Prime Minister had only agreed 'reluctantly' to accept his resignation. It came after fellow Cabinet ministers warned they were unwilling to support him in public after the PM insisted the matter was closed

Mr Hancock has also been accused of conflicts of interest over the hiring of Coladangelo as his media adviser and director of his department, earning £15,000 a year

Mr Hancock has also been accused of conflicts of interest over the hiring of Coladangelo as his media adviser and director of his department, earning £15,000 a year

No 10 sources said the Prime Minister had only agreed ‘reluctantly’ to accept his resignation. It came after fellow Cabinet ministers warned they were unwilling to support him in public after the PM insisted the matter was closed

The Health Secretary, 42,

The Health Secretary, 42,

The Health Secretary, 42, and Gina Coladangelo are expected to make a go of their relationship after an affair

Hancock (centre) and Miss Coladangelo had come a long way since they met on Oxford student radio station Oxygen FM in the late '90s

Hancock (centre) and Miss Coladangelo had come a long way since they met on Oxford student radio station Oxygen FM in the late '90s

Hancock (centre) and Miss Coladangelo had come a long way since they met on Oxford student radio station Oxygen FM in the late ’90s








MI5 will discuss leaked Matt Hancock kiss footage with Cabinet Office ‘as CCTV camera in Health Secretary’s office is covered over by black masking tape’ 

MI5 is set to hold discussions with the Cabinet Office over leaked footage of Matt Hancock kissing his aide amid government concerns over a security breach with the Cabinet Office. 

They will this week hold talks on whether the leaked footage, which shows Mr Hancock locked in an embrace with his aide Gina Coladangelo, could constitute a national security breach.  

It comes as the CCTV camera that filmed the former health secretary and his aide has reportedly been covered over by black masking tape as a precautionary measure while an internal probe is ongoing. 

The Department of Health and Social Care has launched an internal investigation into how the footage was leaked to the media.

They are also investigating why the CCTV camera was installed in the office. It emerged the camera had been there since at least 2017. 

A police source said that the footage raises the issue of blackmail. 

‘Hancock having a kiss with his girlfriend is not a national security issue, it’s a national embarrassment issue,’ the source told The Times newspaper. 

‘But it raises issues of blackmail and extortion.

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In a sign of the anger his conduct has caused, Mr Lewis was challenged by Sky News host Trevor Phillips over the PM’s fight to keep him in his job.

Mr Phillips said hundreds of people had been prevented from attending his daughter Sushila’s funeral because of Covid laws signed off by Mr Hancock. He told Mr Lewis: ‘The pictures that we saw (of Mr Hancock) were of an encounter on May 6. On May 11 my family buried my daughter who had died not of Covid but during the lockdown.

‘Three hundred of our family and friends turned up online but most of them were not allowed to be at the graveside even though it was in the open air because of the rule of 30, because of the instruction by Mr Hancock.

‘Now the next time one of you tells me what to do in my private life, explain to me why I shouldn’t just tell you where to get off?’

Startled, Mr Lewis responded: ‘I accept and understand the frustration, even the anger, people have. It’s also why what Matt did was wrong.

‘He acknowledged that, why he apologised immediately and acknowledged what he did was wrong, and it’s also why he’s taken the decision that his position was untenable.’

Victims’ families said the PM’s failure to sack Mr Hancock was ‘a slap in the face’ to those whose lives been in turmoil during the pandemic.

Diane Mayhew, of the campaign group Rights for Residents, said: ‘Boris Johnson is now showing weak leadership once again.

‘His refusal to sack Matt Hancock for breaching social distancing rules effectively condones such behaviour.

‘How can they expect the public to sacrifice their freedoms and follow the guidance when even those who set it are unable to abide by it?’ Craig Bicknell, who was ordered to stop comforting his mother at his father’s funeral, described the response to the scandal as a ‘farce and embarrassment’ for the Government.

Martyn Brunt, who did not sit face-to face with his 91-year-old mother Sylvia for a year due to Covid restrictions, said Mr Johnson’s reaction had left him exasperated.

He told BBC 5 Live: ‘It’s difficult not to be able to hold her hand, to give her a hug but I do it because it’s the right thing to do for her.

‘So to see that those rules only apply to me and everybody but the person setting the rules was a slap in the face. I think he should have been sacked.








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