PM challenged to act over Hancock saga or allow official probe

LABOUR’S deputy leader has written to the Government adviser on ministerial standards demanding an investigation into the Health Secretary.

Angela Rayner has written to Boris Johnson, head of the civil service Simon Case and ministerial standards adviser Lord Geidt about Matt Hancock after it emerged he was having an affair with a close aide he employed in his department.

Gina Coladangelo started as a non-executive director at the Department fo Health and Social Care (DHSC) in September, for which it is reported she will receive £15,000.

The communications director for high street chain Oliver Bonas is also working as an unpaid adviser to Mr Hancock, with the pair becoming friends at Oxford University some years ago.

Mr Hancock has refused to resign after images of the pair kissing in his Whitehall HQ were leaked to the media, despite later admitting he had broken social distancing rules.

Mr Johnson swiftly declared the matter “closed” with Downing Street saying he accepted Mr Hancock’s apology. 

However Labour has called for an investigation into the aide’s employment, saying it is the latest in a series of incidents in which Mr Hancock may have broken the ministerial code.

In a letter sent this afternoon to Mr Johnson, Ms Rayner said: ” I am writing to you regarding the Health Secretary. As you know, he has already been found to have breached the Ministerial Code regarding a company that he part-owns with his sister and was awarded NHS approved supplier status.

“Earlier this week I wrote to you regarding a potential further breach of the Ministerial Code when he promoted a private healthcare company without declaring that the company’s shareholders had made financial donations both to himself personally and to the Conservative Party.

“News reports today suggest that he has now failed to declare that he was engaged in a relationship with someone who he personally appointed at taxpayers’ expense to serve as an adviser, and subsequently a Non-Executive Director, at the Department of Health and Social Care.

Such a failure would appear to be a further breach of the Ministerial Code, which in these circumstances should surely result in his removal from office.” 

She issued a direct challenge to the PM, saying: “If you are not prepared to act on your own initiative as Prime Minister, I would urge you to instruct your Independent Adviser to immediately investigate the Health Secretary’s conduct and his apparent breach of the Ministerial Code. Any documents, correspondence and the findings of this investigation should be published in full.” 

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992