Labour calls for release of documents over Gina Coladangelo's appointment
Labour want a proper inquiry into the hiring of Gina Coladangelo as Matt Hancock's PA following their high profile affair
The Labour Party's deputy leader, Angela Rayner, has called for evidence of the processes which led to Matt Hancock hiring his long-time friend and secret lover, Gina Coladangelo, as his personal aide to be released for close scrutiny.
Hancock resigned yesterday afternoon following pressure from MPs and the general public, as news of his affair not only comes as a personal scandal but clearly demonstrates how he broke the very Covid restrictions surrounding close personal contact that his department has been ordering throughout the pandemic.
After having tweeted, simply, "Resign, @MattHancock. Sack him, @BorisJohnson." following immediate news of the affair and Covid breaches initially broke, Rayner shared an image of the letter she wrote to the Prime Minister and the Department of Health and Social Care's (DHSC):
The Prime Minister apparently considers the matter closed. It isn't.
I've demanded an investigation by the government's Independent Adviser Lord Geidt into whether Matt Hancock breached the Ministerial Code, again.
This should result in him leaving his post as Health Secretary. pic.twitter.com/8YeU3vOzFt
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) June 25, 2021
Furthermore, writing to the DHSC's permanent secretary Sir Chris Wormald, Ms Rayner had the following to say: "We can't believe a word Matt Hancock says [...] He has broken the ministerial code and is treating the public like fools"
"We need to know how this appointment was made, whether any conflicts of interest were declared.
"The department must publish all correspondence and documents related to this appointment so the public can see Matt Hancock has broken the rules."
Let's not forget, this is not even the first time Hancock has acted unlawfully/broken ministerial code during his time as health secretary, as a high court ruled him guilty of handing out a number of private contracts to his chums earlier this year. The same goes for his former co-conspirator, Dominic Cummings. No honour among thieves, though, it would seem.
According to Rayner, Wormald had told her that Coladangelo's appointment was kosher back in September 2020 and was initially to provide communications support for Mr Hancock. Moreover, the work was supposedly "short-term in nature, and made in response to an urgent need for specific advice or assistance".
However, the line clearly didn't age well as Coladangelo was ultimately made a non-executive director in the department, with several people raising a number of "urgent questions" that needed addressing.
These included exactly what advice or assistance Mrs Coladangelo provided Mr Hancock with, the recruitment process she went through and whether there was any conflict of interest. You know, like the shagging part?
Rayner herself asked whether "at any point during the recruitment of Gina Coladangelo, or at any point subsequently did the Secretary of State mention or declare any personal relationship between himself and Gina Coladangelo".
He may be the headline act but Hancock isn't the only one Rayner is taking to task, as she has continued to be very vocal on social media, calling for similar investigations into other Conservative colleagues, such as Priti Patel and Michael Gove, to be put under the spotlight. Let's have it straight, shall we? They're all at it.
Now @MattHancock has resigned we need urgent investigations into the dodgy dealings of @pritipatel and @michaelgove, who have themselves seemingly breached the Ministerial Code by helping their friends get taxpayers’ money.
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) June 27, 2021
The thread continues with Rayner questioning why Boris Johnson publicly backed him despite this story clearly being in the pipeline for some time. As well as sharing a story by The Sunday Times that revealed Hancock had used his private email account for government businesses, she also gave a damning indictment of the current Tory administration:
"They say a fish rots from the head down, and the stink of sleaze hanging around this government comes from the very top and the Prime Minister’s own total disregard for rules and ethics sets the standards for his Ministers."
Perhaps what typifies this the most and is one of the most galling subplots throughout this entire mess is the fact that Matt Hancock could land a five-figure sum following his 'resignation'.
As the video of the school disco level necking wasn't nauseating enough.