Matt Hancock resigned after the embarrassing incident – but critics say questions remain (Image: Getty Images)
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Matt Hancock has resigned in disgrace after he admitted breaking his own Covid rules.
The Health Secretary quit on Saturday night after leaked CCTV showed him snogging Gina Coladangelo, who had a £15,000-a-year role at the Department of Health.
Tory minister Robert Buckland tried to draw a line under the scandal today, claiming he was “amazed” journalists were still asking about it.
But critics of Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson say there are still a litany of unanswered questions about his conduct – from a breach of Covid rules to accusations of cronyism.
Those questions only deepened today when No10 admitted Mr Hancock “directly” got Ms Coladangelo her job, despite being friends with her since university.
The kiss between Mr Hancock and Gina Coladangelo was caught on camera
(Image: Image: The Sun)
Downing Street have conspicuously dodged confirming the existence of any kind of government probe – except one.
The one thing we definitely know is being investigated is how the CCTV leaked from Mr Hancock’s office in the first place.
The rest? Well, here are the investigations people want…
Whether Matt Hancock broke the Ministerial Code
The SNP has demanded Boris Johnson launches an investigation into whether Matt Hancock broke the Ministerial Code “on multiple occasions”.
Point 1.2 of the Code says: “Working relationships… should be proper and appropriate.” Does this cover a snog against an office door?
And Point 7.1 adds: “Ministers must ensure no conflict arises, or could reasonably be perceived to arise, between their public duties and their private interests.”
Ms Coladangelo was a university friend of Mr Hancock, and he appointed her directly to a £15,000-a-year government job. So, did he declare that interest?
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SNP MP Kirsten Oswald claimed: “There are growing concerns that Matt Hancock routinely abused his position as Tory Health Secretary – and may have broken the ministerial code and the law on multiple occasions.”
Yet No10 confirmed there is not currently an investigation into whether Mr Hancock broke the Ministerial Code.
And the Cabinet Office refused to say whether a Ministerial Code investigation can be launched into someone who is no longer a minister.
It is thought it is possible – but highly unlikely because the decision on whether to launch a probe is in Boris Johnson’s hands.
Gina Coladangelo pictured in 2019, before she became a non-executive director
(Image: Zuma Press / eyevine)
How exactly Gina Coladangelo got her job
Labour have called for “all documents” to be published relating to Gina Coladangelo's £15,000-a-year job at the Department of Health.
Matt Hancock personally appointed the millionaire lobbyist as a non-executive director, sitting alongside Chris Whitty on the board.
Friends of Mr Hancock have insisted the affair began in May, but the pair were university friends long before their kiss.
So why was he allowed to make the appointment himself, and did he declare their friendship?
Downing Street insisted “her appointment followed the correct procedure in this regard”, but did not provide these details.
Fleur Anderson, Labour's Shadow Cabinet Office Minister said: "Matt Hancock may have resigned but this matter is far from closed.
"The role of a Non-Executive Director is to challenge and scrutinise the Minister. We need to know if the nature of their relationship was declared and whether the recruitment process was carried out in a fair and transparent way."
Matt Hancock personally appointed the millionaire lobbyist, left
(Image: Getty Images)
Whether Gina Coladangelo’s Parliament pass followed the rules
Labour have reported a Tory donor “chum” of Matt Hancock to the standards watchdog for getting his aide a Parliamentary pass.
Lord Bethell sponsored a coveted security pass for Gina Coladangelo until December last year, the Mirror understands.
That gave the aide access to corridors of power on the Parliamentary estate, which includes both the Commons and the Lords.
Health Minister Lord Bethell could now face a formal investigation into whether his sponsorship of a pass broke parliamentary rules.
Peers can obtain up to three passes for secretaries and research assistants, if they “genuinely and personally” work for that peer. But the Sunday Times reported that Mrs Coladangelo has never worked for Lord Bethell personally.
The complaint is undergoing an initial assessment by the Lords Commissioner for Standards. We don't know yet if there'll be a full investigation.
Gina Coladangelo had a parliamentary security pass last year
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Whether Matt Hancock used his personal email account for work
Leaked minutes of a government meeting in December have claimed Mr Hancock “only” dealt with his private office “via Gmail account”.
Lord Bethell also “routinely uses his personal inbox”, the minutes claimed, even adding: “The majority of [approvals for contracts] would have been initiated from this inbox.”
If true, that would break Cabinet Office guidance, which says: “It is expected that Government business should be recorded on government record systems.”
Cabinet Secretary Simon Case previously told MPs: "These things have to be retained, declared to officials as per the code, whatever the means of communication.”
Matt Hancock with Gina Coladangelo by his side
(Image: Ben Cawthra/LNP)
Labour have written to the Cabinet Secretary and the Information Commissioner demanding two separate probes.
And minister Robert Buckland admitted using personal e-mail accounts would be a security issue.
Downing Street today swerved questions about whether the claims will be formally reviewed by the Cabinet Secretary.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman insisted: "Both the former health secretary and Lord Bethell understand the rules around personal email usage and only ever conducted Government business through their departmental email addresses."
Yet ex-aide Dominic Cummings tweeted: “Except for all the whatsapps between PM, MH and tory donors which No10 officials know exist cos they're copied in to some. So dozens of no10 officials know No10 press office openly lying again."
Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has not ruled out a probe, saying: "I am looking carefully at the information that has come to light over the past few days and considering what further steps may be necessary to address the concerns raised with me."
Whether Matt Hancock broke Covid laws
Labour MP Fleur Anderson wrote to the Met Police Commissioner on Friday, urging Scotland Yard to investigate whether Mr Hancock’s smooch broke Covid laws.
She wrote: “While the Secretary of State has apologised for breaking the social distancing guidance, there are possible grounds to believe he may have broken the law.
“On May 6, England was still at stage two of Covid restrictions.
“When it came to gatherings indoors, the law stated: ‘No person may participate in a gathering… which consists of two or more people and takes place indoors.’”
On Friday, the Met Police said it was "aware of the distribution of images alleged to have been obtained within an official Government premises" – but added it would not be investigating the married 42-year-old.
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And finally, the one investigation that definitely IS happening…
The Department of Health has launched an investigation into how CCTV from inside Matt Hancock’s private office got leaked.
The Government security group based at the Cabinet Office will support the review and MI5 have reportedly been in touch.
It comes after reports that Matt Hancock was not even aware the camera could be filming him.
A former Cabinet minister said: “This needs an explanation. If a Cabinet minister’s private office is being filmed, the permanent secretary should ensure that they are aware and tell them why. No minister I’ve spoken to has been aware of having a camera in their office.”
However, it is a review only in the Department of Health – not of CCTV across government – and is not expected to produce a public report.
Asked how often the PM's office is swept for bugs, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “That’s absolutely one I won’t be getting into”.
Asked if No10 could rule out the involvement of foreign powers, the spokesman said: “I’m not going to get into security matters, but there’s a lot of reported speculation that I don’t recognise at all.”