The British health secretary has been caught red-handed after photos of him snogging an aide in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, with no respect for his own social distancing rules, go viral.
In a story on Friday morning, Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s month of woe was compounded when The Sun published images taken from a CCTV camera of the minister snogging aide Gina Coladangelo.
The images, reportedly from May, show Hancock getting up close and personal with Coladangelo; his hands can be seen holding her backside as they make out in what is supposedly the Department of Health’s London HQ during office hours.
The story has engendered a fierce reaction, with Britain’s social media elite all jumping to condemn the minister for his hypocrisy, highlighting Hancock’s disregard for his own rules on social distancing at a time when the UK was facing the new Delta Covid-19 strain originating in India. Journo-cum-TV star Piers Morgan was among the first to bash the minister’s double standards.
Well-known barrister Jo Maugham was one of many who raised Hancock’s “extraordinary” hypocrisy within a legal context, referencing the minister’s own guidance for office workers.
Another human rights barrister, Adam Wagner, added that private indoor meetings between people who do not live together were unlawful for most of the past year.
Apart from the legal eagles, Hancock’s actions clearly touched a nerve with some. One person stated that while the rest of the country was told not to hug, forgo seeing our lovers, and forget relationships, the minister of health was getting personal with an aide in Whitehall.
“Hands, face, space, fresh air, can’t see you adhering to your own Covid19 policies here, mate,” one person wrote.
Others were keen to make fun of Hancock’s misdemeanour. Journalist Paul Waugh joked: “Parliamentary source: ‘Matt Hancock’s new guidance: Hands. Face. Arse,’” while others questioned whether the snog was in the national interest – “perhaps his affair is a ‘pilot event?’”
The story has also provided material for a series of viral memes as Hancock trends on social media. One person posted images of the minister’s supposedly ‘fake’ crying on TV after the first Covid-19 doses were administered, asking if this is how he’ll apologise to his wife?
Hancock has also been under fire from former No. 10 aide Dominic Cummings in recent weeks. In leaked messages between Cummings and PM Boris Johnson, the health secretary was described as ‘F**king hopeless’. Last year, Hancock supported government Covid-19 advisor Professor Neil Ferguson’s decision to resign from his role after meeting his married lover during the first lockdown.