Health Secretary Matt Hancock has apologised after images emerged of him kissing a close aide, but has resisted calls to resign.
Hancock said he was “very sorry” for letting people down and breaking social distancing rules after The Sun newspaper published a CCTV image of him kissing Gina Coladangelo, an aide at the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).
The paper reported that the Heath Secretary was conducting an extramarital affair with Coladangelo, who he knew from their days together at Oxford University and who he appointed to the DHSC last year.
Hancock has resisted calls to resign. Boris Johnson also refused to comment on sacking the Health Secretary, saying considered the matter “closed” following Hancock’s apology.
Labour said that Hancock’s position had become “hopelessly untenable” and called for him to be sacked if he was not prepared to not quit voluntarily.
Coladangelo, the woman with whom Hancock is accused of having an affair, was initially taken on as an unpaid adviser on a six-month contract in March last year, before being appointed as a non-executive director at the department by the Health Secretary.
The news comes after former aide Dominic Cummings released internal government Whatsapp messages which appeared to show the PM accusing the Health Secretary of being “hopeless”.
In a statement, Hancock said: “I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances, I have let people down and am very sorry.”
“I remain focused on working to get the country out of this pandemic, and would be grateful for privacy for my family on this personal matter.”
Additional reporting by PA.