Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has discussed his extramarital affair with aide Gina Colangelo for the first time in a new interview.
Speaking to Dragons' Den star Steven Bartlett on his Diary of a CEO podcast, Hancock denied claims he flouted his own Covid guidelines in the pursuit of ‘casual sex’, saying he had ‘fallen in love’ with his co-worker.
The former cabinet minister was forced to resign last year after leaked CCTV footage showed him passionately embracing the married aide in his Whitehall office, in a clear breach of the social distancing guidelines at the time.
The footage was taken on 6 May 2021, when indoor social gatherings of people from different households were banned and official government guidance urged people to stay two metres apart and ‘avoid face-to-face contact’.
After initially attempting to cling on to his job following the scandal, Hancock resigned shortly afterwards and has kept a low profile ever since.
During the interview with Bartlett, the atmosphere turned tense when the affair was brought up and the West Suffolk MP vehemently denied breaking Covid guidelines for 'casual sex'.
“In September 2020,” Bartlett began, "there was guidance to stop us having casual sex with people outside our household etc… Right?”
Hancock shot back: “Do you think you could ask the question a little bit more respectfully?
“Should we just start this section again? I don’t mind all of it except the opening bit about casual sex.
"I haven’t had casual sex with anybody. I fell in love with somebody.
“There’s a way that we can do this bit of the conversation, but we cannot do it with you starting talking about casual sex.
"You can ask the question, but let's ask the question in a reasonable way. This bit is really hard for me.”
Despite being adamant that he hadn’t broken any laws, Hancock admitted it was inevitable he had to step down following the revelations.
He said he decided to quit after people he respected contacted him reminding him of things they had not been able to do, such as visit dying relatives.
He said: "I resigned because I broke the social distancing guidelines. By then they weren’t actually rules, they weren’t the law. But that’s not the point.
"The point is they were the guidelines that I’d been proposing. And that happened because I fell in love with somebody.
"We fell in love and that's something that was completely outside of my control.
"Of course, I regret the pain that that's caused and the very, very, very public nature - anybody who has been through this knows how difficult it is, how painful it is."
Featured Image Credit: YouTube/The Diary Of A Ceo