sick Matt Hancock going? Here is the prosecution file. He did – as he admitted earlier today – violated social distancing guidelines by kissing his assistant, Gina Coladangelo, in his office in the middle of the afternoon, as captured on CCTV and thereafter. disclosed in a newspaper. At the time, councils ordered people to stay at least 2 meters away from those they did not live with. This of course smacks of hypocrisy, because a) Hancock said last year that government science adviser Neil Ferguson, who also broke the rules of a case, made the “right decision to resign”, and b ) he is the Secretary of Health. and we are in the midst of a pandemic. The result is that any authority he had to order people to stay away is gone. Which is a bit of a problem.
The second problem will arise if it turns out that Hancock violated the ministerial code by not declaring a conflict of interest. Before hiring Coladangelo, they were longtime friends and his role at DHSC was to oversee Hancock’s performance.
No.10 may be backing him up for now, but whether or not Hancock stays depends on how willing Boris Johnson is to tolerate an unauthorized – i.e. essentially useless – health secretary. . And thanIt depends, I think, on Johnson’s ability to fire him without incurring damaging levels of embarrassment.
Clearly, Johnson cannot fire Hancock for failing to declare a conflict of interest on a case – he himself faces similar allegations on an alleged affair with Jennifer Arcuri, which a GLA investigation is still underway. Classes.
But there is a solution for Johnson, which is to simply fire Hancock for breaking Covid rules. Johnson has not been accused of breaking them and can, I think, easily deflect any reference to his own affairs by sticking to this point. (Sacking Hancock now might also seem tempting as a way to stem the tide of damaging leaks regarding the Health Secretary by Dominic Cummings, which have also had a bad impact on the Prime Minister).
Today’s No.10 statement will simply not be enough – every time Hancock attempts to enforce lockdown measures, and whenever people resist it, attention will be drawn to this story. Hancock isn’t that sure.