Matt Hancock and Gina Colangelo affair: The kiss that outraged the nation

CHELTENHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 14: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Matt Hancock and Gina Colangelo attend day 1 'Champion Day' of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 14, 2023 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Matt Hancock's relationship with Gina Colangelo emerged during the Covid pandemic. (Getty)

Matt Hancock is giving more evidence to the COVID inquiry after hitting back at critics earlier in the week.

The former health secretary has already faced hours of questioning by the inquiry, which has been set up to examine the UK's response to and impact of coronavirus.

Hancock defended himself on his first day of questioning, suggesting that Boris Johnson's former chief advisor Dominic Cummings had created a “culture of fear” in government which undermined the pandemic response.

Hancock was health secretary at the start of the pandemic until he was forced to quit in June 2021 after he was caught on CCTV kissing an aide, Gina Coladangelo in his ministerial office, breaking coronavirus social distancing rules and sparking national outrage over complaints he was undermining government messaging about the virus.

The incident was briefly mentioned on Friday, with Hancock quizzed about the public’s ability to follow rules when “there were a number of transgressions in public life”.

He said: "What I'd say is the lesson for the future is very clear and it is important that those who make the rules abide by them and I resigned in order to take accountability for that."

Recommended reading

When did Matt Hancock have an affair?

On 25 June 2021, The Sun published security camera photographs of Hancock kissing Colangelo in a Whitehall office.

Colangelo, who had known Hancock since they both studied at Oxford University, was working as his aide at the time.

The photos sparked fury as they broke social distancing rules that were in place during the COVID pandemic.

Hancock initially refused to resign but subsequently quit as health secretary the following day, while Colangelo also reportedly stepped down from a position on the Department of Health and Social Care board.

Both went on to split from their spouses in the wake of the revelations.

What have they both said about it?

Matt Hancock hit back at critics when he gave evidence to the Covid Inquiry. (PA)
Matt Hancock hit back at critics when he gave evidence to the Covid Inquiry. (PA)

Hancock has acknowledged he "messed up" but has insisted he "fell in love" with Colangelo.

In an interview with The Diary of a CEO podcast in February 2022, Hancock said he broke social distancing guidelines because he “fell in love” with Coladangelo.

He told Steven Bartlett: "Of course, I regret the pain that that’s caused and the very, very, very public nature.

“Anybody who’s been through this knows how difficult it is, how painful it is doing that in public is incredibly painful, but I fell in love with someone.”

He added: "Gina and I love each other very deeply".

Speaking while he appeared on reality show I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!, Hancock said: "It was really tough. I messed up and I fessed up. I resigned and it’s no excuse but I fell in love, right?

“That also had a lot of other consequences obviously."

Colangelo, who was previously married to Oliver Bonas founder Oliver Tress, has remained relatively tight-lipped about their relationship, but did write a letter to him while he was in the jungle during I'm a Celebrity.

In it, she said: "Dear Matt, wow watching you in the jungle has been quite the experience. We are particularly impressed that you conquered your fear of snakes. We are less sure about the dancing. Although we saw that you almost got the electric slide thanks to Scarlette. Gina xxxxx"

She was also waiting for him when he came out of the jungle, embracing him as he came third on the show.

Are Matt Hancock and Gina Colangelo still together?

The couple, who have known each other for decades, appear to still be together.

They are believed to have spent time together in Australia after Hancock's appearance on I'm a Celebrity, and then were also photographed together at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

In May the politician posted a picture with Colangelo on his Instagram account, writing: "Wonderful to pop into the Chelsea Flower Show with Gina this afternoon. Really lovely."

Matt hancock
Hancock shared a picture of him with Colangelo on his Instagram account in May. (Instagram/Matt Hancock)