Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has faced a torrid week after Isabel Oakeshott leaked thousands of his WhatsApp messages dating from the Covid-19 pandemic to the Daily Telegraph.
While the leak itself has raised questions about journalistic ethics, the content of the messages has been firmly within the public interest. They have shown us how key coronavirus-related policy decisions were made, including the enforcement of lockdown restrictions, the movement of untested elderly people into care homes, and the re-opening of schools. Matt Hancock has described the leaks as a “massive betrayal”.
The latest leak has covered the immediate aftermath of Hancock’s infamous kiss with Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) aide Gina Coladangelo. It shows how the then-Cabinet minister battled to save his career after his affair was revealed by The Sun newspaper.
Ever since the incident in 2021, Hancock has been attempting to rebuild his public image. He appeared on the latest series of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! - a move which means he is no longer sitting as a Conservative MP in the House of Commons. He has also published a book with Isabel Oakeshott, which is how the journalist came to be in possession of his WhatsApp conversations, of his Covid pandemic diaries.
But is Matt Hancock still married to his wife Martha Hoyer Millar - and is he still dating Gina Coladangelo?
Is Matt Hancock married?
Matt Hancock’s current official marital status is unclear, but we know he has separated from his wife of 15 years Martha Hancock. On her Twitter account, she has previously ‘liked’ tweets about divorce, which suggests they are currently going through the legal process.
We also know that Matt Hancock is still dating Gina Coladangelo, the aide he was caught kissing on camera in the Department for Health and Social Care back in June 2021. The picture of this clinch led to his resignation as Health Secretary as it showed he was breaking his own social distancing rules intended to guard against Covid.
Who is Martha Hoyer Millar?
Not a great deal is known about Martha Hancock, nee Martha Hoyer Millar. She has managed to stay out of the spotlight despite her husband’s high-profile political career. An osteopath, she met Matt Hancock while the pair were studying at Oxford University in the late 1990s.
She is the granddaughter of the 1st Baron Ichyra, while her great-grandfather was the 1st Viscount Camrose - a media baron who co-owned newspapers including The Sunday Times and Daily Telegraph. Martha Hancock had three children with her ex-husband - a girl and two boys.
In June 2021 when his affair with Gina Coladangelo had been revealed by The Sun, Matt Hancock is reported to have told his wife he would be ending their marriage. He immediately moved out of the London home he shared with Martha Hancock and into his constituency home in West Suffolk.
Later that summer, Hancock was seen collecting more of his belongings from his London home, with Martha passing things to him so that the disgraced MP did not cross the threshold. Since the split, Martha Hancock appears to have turned against the Conservative Party. She has liked several tweets that celebrated Boris Johnson’s demise.
Who is Gina Coladangelo?
Gina Coladangelo, 45, also met Matt Hancock while at Oxford University. The pair studied the same course - philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) - and appeared together on student radio station Oxygen FM.
They had remained friends ever since and had gone into relationships with other people. While Hancock married Martha Hoyer Millar, Coladangelo had a brief marriage to property lawyer Glynn Gibb, before wedding Oliver Bonas founder and owner Oliver Tress in 2009. She had three children with Mr Tress during their 11-year marriage.
The businessperson and lobbyist was serving as a non-executive director at the Department of Health and Social Care when her affair with Hancock was caught on camera. Earning £15,000, she was allowed to attend confidential meets with civil servants between 2020 and 2021.
This role came despite her being a shareholder in PR and lobbying firm Luther Pendragon, which offers clients a “deep understanding of the mechanics of government”. She was also the marketing and communications director for Oliver Bonas at the time.
When the revelations about her affair with Hancock became public, Ms Coladangelo was seen leaving the £4.5 million London home she shared with her ex-husband.
She has been spotted at several public events with Hancock since, as the pair have continued their relationship. They also took on a sponsored walk to the summit of Mont Blanc in the summer of 2022 to raise money for WIllow - a charity providing support to seriously ill young adults. When asked about the kissing incident on I’m a Celeb, Hancock said “it was a mistake, because I fell in love with somebody. That’s why I apologised for it.”
What do leaked WhatsApp messages show?
On Friday (4 March), the Daily Telegraph launched another tranche of leaked WhatsApp messages Matt Hancock exchanged with his aides during the Covid-19 pandemic. These conversations covered what the newspaper described as a “41-hour scramble to save his career”.
The messages show him discussing what to do after footage of his clinch with Ms Coladangelo emerged. He asks his girlfriend and a special adviser about what Covid-19 guidance was in place at the time of the kiss, and how he should respond to the allegations of an affair.
After The Sun had approached him for comment, but before the newspaper had published its scoop, Hancock asked his adviser: “How bad are the pics?”. They responded by saying it was a “snog and heavy petting” before Hancock replied: “How the fuck did anyone photograph that?”
Hancock then went on to reveal he had ‘snogged’ his aide in both his office and on the balcony, before appearing to doubt whether or not they had been intimate on the DHSC balcony.
When the video was published, Ms Coladangelo wrote: “OMFG”, while Hancock said: “Crikey”. When discussing what the Covid guidance was at the time, Gina Coladangelo stated: “I do not believe we broke any laws”. Hancock replied: “That was guidance, not the law!” before criticising his special adviser for publsihing a statement that included the defensive phrase: ‘No laws were broken.’