‘It was the very worst conversation of my life’: Matt Hancock reveals the agonising moment he told wife Martha about his affair with Gina – and how Boris was the ‘kindest of confidants’ throughout drama (even filming his resignation speech)
- Click here to read Part Two of Matt Hancock’s explosive pandemic diaries and watch the full video exclusively on Mailplus+
- Ex-health secretary had ‘terrible black dread’ at thought of affair going public
- Mr Hancock reveals the ‘devastating implications of our feelings for each other’
- He also said border enforcement was a ‘mess’ as most locator forms went in bin
Matt Hancock today reveals the depths of his anguish over the affair which ended his marriage, describing the moment when he told his wife as the ‘very worst conversation of my life’.
In his explosive pandemic diaries, serialised in today’s Mail on Sunday and The Mail+, the former Health Secretary describes his ‘terrible black dread’ at the prospect of his affair with Gina Coladangelo being revealed, and recounts the ‘devastating implications of our feelings for each other’.
The Tory MP, who won plaudits – and brickbats – for his recent performance in ITV’s I’m a Celebrity…..Get Me Out of Here!’, also writes about how then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson was the ‘kindest of confidants’ throughout the drama, and even filmed Mr Hancock’s resignation statement on his wobbly mobile phone.
Matt Hancock today reveals the depths of his anguish over the affair which ended his marriage, describing the moment when he told his wife (pictured together) as the ‘very worst conversation of my life’
Matt Hancock and Gina Coladangelo returning to their hotel to meet waiting family and fans after his eviction from I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
Mr Hancock also writes about how then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson was the ‘kindest of confidants’ throughout the drama, and even filmed Mr Hancock’s resignation statement on his wobbly mobile phone
Among today’s other revelations in the diaries, Mr Hancock:
- Describes his war with former No.10 adviser Dominic Cummings, who was ‘shelling’ him and ‘itching for me to fail’, despite the ‘s**tshow’ of Johnson’s controversial aide’s infamous lockdown ‘mega breach’ in Durham.
- Sets out the extraordinary tensions with vaccine taskforce tsar Kate Bingham, calling her ‘totally unreliable’ and saying they had a ‘massive blow-up’ over her alleged obstruction, including trying to block vaccines from India.
- Admits a total ‘screw-up’ over the Covid app which couldn’t take data from NHS tests was his fault.
- Writes that Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was endlessly ‘on manoeuvres’, using the pandemic to try to further her separatist cause.
- Condemns the EU’s handling of the vaccine, which was ‘enough to make a Brexiteer’ out of anyone.
- Tells how the Transport Department pushed for a 24-hour notice period before the introduction of self-quarantine for travellers from Spain because then Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was on holiday in the country. He writes that border enforcement was a ‘mess’, with most passenger locator forms going ‘straight in the bin’.
- Says he feared that Rishi Sunak’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ initiative would lead to a spike in cases.
- Was jubilant at hitting his testing target, writing: ‘let naysayers put that in their pipe and smoke it’
Click here to read Part Two of Matt Hancock’s explosive pandemic diaries
The most passionately personal sections of the diaries concern Ms Coladangelo, who was on the ITV set in Australia to greet Mr Hancock when he emerged from the jungle.
The relationship with Ms Coladangelo, a friend of since their Oxford university days who worked with him in the Health Department, was exposed when The Sun obtained CCTV images of the couple embracing in his offices in breach of his own rules enforcing social distancing.
Mr Hancock writes: ‘Accompanying the joy of falling in love – if you are supposed to be happily married – is the turmoil. You know, with terrible black dread, that sooner or later the relationship must be revealed and everything will come crashing down’.
The Suffolk MP, who had the party whip suspended for signing up to the ITV show, says that the pair ‘knew the devastating implications of our feelings for each other [but] ‘were trying to work out the least painful way of being together’.
After the call from The Sun, Mr Hancock said he ‘knew immediately what I had to do. I needed to tell [my wife] Martha right away, because it needed to come from me and nobody else. I also knew I had to tell the children – it was going to be incredibly painful, but I couldn’t hide away from them for ever. They deserved to know, too. Having the Health Secretary for a husband or father during a global pandemic has been incredibly tough for the family, and I feel wretched.’
Before heading to see his family, Mr Hancock writes, he tells Mr Johnson, who he describes as ‘no stranger to personal turmoil and, it turned out, the kindest of confidants in these ghastly circumstances. He was thoughtful, considered and as supportive as he could be for everyone involved’.
He adds: ‘I explained it all: that Gina and I had recently fallen in love, and fallen in love very deeply. I told him how I had known Gina for more than half of my life – we first met working together on student radio at Oxford – and I brought her into the [Health] department to help with public communications.
‘I told him that we had spent a huge amount of time together during the pandemic and fell in love. Foolish as it sounds, it felt completely outside my control.’
Mr Johnson said that he would ‘stand by’ his minister, because although Mr Hancock had breached guidelines he had not broken the law.
Mr Hancock writes: ‘With those words ringing in my head, and in utter turmoil, I headed home to talk to Martha. It was – and remains – the very worst conversation of my life.’
Mr Hancock went into hiding in a futile attempt to ride out the growing storm.
‘Politically, I was increasingly isolated,’ he writes. ‘I felt desperate for my family, my children and Gina’s family and her children, and powerless to protect them. Worse was the knowledge that Gina and I had brought all this on them.
‘Gina’s feelings of shame and guilt were nearly overpowering her. The jokes and cartoons on social media were excruciating. We were being publicly humiliated, again and again….It is all my fault, of course. I knew I had to take responsibility. I knew in my heart that I had to resign’.
Mr Hancock then travels to Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country retreat, to tender his resignation – with Mr Johnson filming his words on his mobile phone.
‘In the end, the great machinery of the State was nowhere. It was just me and the PM, fumbling around with an iPhone. He stood on the grass, holding the phone while I said my piece. It took a few goes to get right. He nodded sympathetic encouragement so much throughout the first take that the camera waved up and down. In the end it wasn’t perfect, but I was beyond caring: I had to get it out.’
Mr Johnson then offered a last, characteristic piece of advice: ‘Time to dive beneath the ice cap.’
Matt Hancock’s book sale royalties will be donated to NHS Charities and good causes relating to dyslexia.
- Click here to read Part Two of Matt Hancock’s explosive pandemic diaries
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