Matt Hancock Has No Moral Authority as the Former Health Secretary – Conservative Article
If you have any form of social media, watch the news, or spoken to anyone in the last couple of days, it is highly probable that you have heard about Matt Hancock’s affair. As Health Secretary Hancock was at the forefront of setting the rules and regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The former cabinet member was caught kissing his adviser, Gina Coladaneglo. The video was taken on May 6th, where social distancing rules were very much still in place. Those in separate households were still legally not allowed to hug, yet Hancock breached the very rules that he put in place for the nation.
Before I delve further into this story, I want to note that this is an incredibly sensitive issue. This is a private matter that has become exceptionally public. I do not condone any sharing of hateful language toward Hancock or his family.
As I said, this is very much a private matter. Usually, I would not be invested in any way, shape, or form in an MP’s private relations. As Edwina Currie, a former Conservative MP stated, “private lives are private”. This, however, is a private matter that does impact the public immensely.
There are two key aspects to this story. The first being the big resignation debate, and the second being the security concerns that stem from the leaked footage of Hancock and Gina Coladaneglo.
The big question before Hancock’s resignation: “does Matt Hancock have any moral authority over social distancing measures?”. This was a fair question to ask. After the backlash of Dominic Cummings’ trip last year, how could we expect the public to continue respecting the rules? Rivka Gottlieb, from Bereaved Families for Justice group stated: “If he were to announce another lockdown or further regulations, why would anybody listen to someone who doesn’t follow the rules themselves? It’s a bit like the Cummings effect.”
Hannah Brady, who lost her father, Shaun Brady, last May at the age of 55, has written “To allow Matt Hancock to continue to hold the position of health secretary compounds the heartbreak of bereaved families who sacrificed so much whilst he broke the rules.” She writes that “It is not only an insult to bereaved families and all those who have obeyed the rules, but undermines the public’s trust in measures designed to save others from the loss we have suffered. If Matt Hancock is unable to find the decency to do the right thing and resign his position, it is paramount that you relieve him of it.”
Thousands of families were unable to say goodbye to loved ones in hospital. Matt Hancock was gallivanting around, breaking the very rules that he set. Thus, his so-called “personal matter” becomes exceptionally public. So many have suffered as a result of social distancing measures, but have put up with it for the safety of others. Why was the Health Secretary an exception?
Edwina Currie also stated that “I think also we should be very wary of being terribly censorious and pious that we want perfect behaviour from ministers”. This I certainly do agree with. However, we were not asking for Hancock to behave perfectly. We were simply expecting him to follow the very rules that he put in place. We expected him to do his job as the Health Secretary.
The other issue that stems from this story is the issue of security. I absolutely cannot and will not defend Matt Hancock for breaking social distancing measures. However, footage from a private government office should not be leaked. Especially not to the tabloids.
It has been revealed that the cameras used by the Department of Health and Social Care’s offices are CCTV cameras made by the Chinese company Hikvision. These are the same cameras that are banned in the U.S because of national security concerns. As a result, there are now a lot of valid concerns surrounding “who could be spying on the country’s most senior ministers.” The firm behind the cameras is also “alleged to have provided cameras that monitor Uighur Muslims in concentration camps in Xinjiang.” If the security of the most senior ministers is not protected, I think it is justifiable to have an inkling of concern for our national security.
It does, however, all come back to Hancock. Ultimately, he should never have broken the very rules that he set for the nation. As Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds says “He set the rules. He admits he broke them. He has to go. If he won’t resign, the PM should sack him.” Of which I could not agree more.
Written by Senior Conservative Writer, Rebecca Selt
Point of Information
Matt Hancock Exposes a Deeper Hypocrisy – A Liberal Response
Matt Hancock is a hypocrite. As Rebecca accurately notes, Hancock’s actions show a blatant disregard for the rules he himself laid down. It is clear that a deep-seated elitism permeates the Conservative party. One rule for them, another rule for us. Technocratic hubris at its worst.
Yet, the hypocrisy around social distancing laws is only half of the picture. Going deeper, Matt Hancock has exposed how superficial the Conservative’s claim to speak for ordinary, working-class Britain is. Millions of people remained separated from their loved ones and struggled to earn a wage through multiple lockdowns. Meanwhile, governing elites did as they pleased. The Tories do not represent our people. They do not speak for a Britain which has hurt and bled throughout this pandemic.
Let’s not lose focus though. The affair itself should be front and centre of this. Matt Hancock and Gina Coladangelo have not only spat on our nation but on their own families. They have hurt the trust of their spouses and their children irreparably. In their selfish affair, they have inflicted months of torment on their supposed “loved ones”, including consistent and soulless paparazzi coverage. To reiterate Rebecca’s point, this was clearly not just a “private affair”.
Regardless of the social distancing rules, the act of cheating on your partner deserves outrage. It shows crass, individualistic selfishness that has no place in the reconstruction of a post-pandemic UK. How can we expect to build back the wider British community when you cannot even help the community of people in your own house? Love for the community starts with the love for the family. Rebuilding begins at home.
For all this, Matt Hancock should be given the space to apologise and repair. But not in a government position. We can no longer trust him in power. His actions have done considerable harm, and warrant significant reparations. A short video and a few scripted sentences alone will not cut it. True, we cannot expect our government ministers to be perfect, as Rebecca notes. However, we must hold them to account. Hancock has to fix the damage he has caused to both the nation and his family. Sincerly.
Hancock has resigned, and thank God for that. On top of the affair, he has sold contracts to corrupt cronies, botched the pandemic response, and most egregiously sacrificed our old and vulnerable in care homes. Hancock’s record speaks for his underlying attitudes. Me first, everyone else second. Good riddance.
Written by Chief Liberal Writer, Frank Allen
Hancock had to go – A Labour Response
Following the undeniable evidence of breaking social distancing rules, Hancock had to resign. This should not be subject to debate. The British public must maintain confidence in the justice system. Thus, the public must see that the law applied equally to everyone regardless of rank, class, or title. The leaked footage is “clear evidence” that the law on indoor gatherings was breached.
Equally important is the nature of Hancock’s relationship with Gina Coladeneglo. Anneliese Dodds called it “a blatant abuse of power and a clear conflict of interest”.
When looking in the recent past, it is easy to see why. In November 2020, Hancock gave Coladeneglo a part-time role as a non-executive director at the Department for Health and Social Care, paid £15,000 a year. Furthermore, Parliamentary records show that in 2019, Hancock sponsored Coladeneglo for a parliamentary pass. Whilst we cannot speculate about the duration or seriousness of their relationship, there certainly appears to be a conflict of interest here. There appears to be a degree of “chumocracy” that is all too common in this government.
Written by Deputy Labour Writer, Brian Byrne
For more on the Covid 19 pandemic, see our articles on another potential Lockdown.
I am a third year student studying English and Film Studies at the University of Exeter. After completing my degree, I will be converting to law to begin my journey of becoming a commercial lawyer. As an avid reader of the Financial Times, I have begun to understand how important the commercial market is in forming global politics.
Politics was a completely taboo subject for me as a young boy. Having lived almost all my life in Brunei and Qatar – two very strict, theocratic autocracies – I was cautious to keep my opinions well-guarded. The smallest negative remark about either country’s governance, for example, would’ve meant deportation for my family and I. Any non-approved political activity, no matter how naïve, had to be kept a secret. It was best not to question at all.