The Hancoup | Did The Conservatives Set Up Matt Hancock in an Effort To Cover Up More Severe Scandals?
Matt Hancock has finally been sacked. Not due to ministerial incompetence or Boris deciding he had enough of his mistakes and idiocy. But because he couldn’t keep his hands off his aide. He turned from the incompetent fool into the cheating idiot. The idea that it’s not just an accident and was potentially planned move by the Conservatives or, more acutely, those within the higher echelons of the party, has crept up on me as the weeks have gone by.
I think that it is important, in these great political moments, that we might reflect on what has happened and, in this instance, why they might have decided to get rid of him.
Hancock has presented himself as a problem over the course of his time in office. With a slew of problematic scandals leading up to this moment of adultery, might we start to believe that this was the opportune juncture for Boris and the Conservatives to remove him from his position in an effort to cover up the other issues in play?
On the 25th of June The Sun released pictures from what appeared to be security camera footage of Hancock kissing a woman, who was quickly identified as Gina Colangelo (his aide) and was married to businessman Oliver Tress.
On the release of the video later in the day, it was clear that Hancock was indeed intimate with Colangelo in his office, while in front of the security cameras. This event was placed on the 6th of May, months prior to its release. Moreover, according to the whistle-blower, it was common knowledge that the “brazen” affair was happening between them and that they had ‘regularly been caught in clinches together’.
However, upon this event(s) being broadcasted to the world, Hancock would neither apologise for the affair occurring or even for appointing his friend as his aide, but for breaking social distancing rules.
During this period there was no inclination from Boris Johnson to sack his minister for breaking the standards he himself had set, despite both men criticizing many others (including the British public) for similar actions over the course of the pandemic.
Last year, the Prime-Minister and Matt Hancock would publicly disavow Professor Neil Ferguson for visiting someone he was in a relationship with and would go on to call his actions “extraordinary” and that social distancing rules “are there for everyone” and are “deadly serious”.
Who is Gina Coladangelo?
Gina Coladangelo was a friend of Matt Hancock’s from Oxford University who worked at the student radio he was a member of. He would later provide her with two government jobs:
Firstly, in May 2020 as an unpaid advisor and then last September as a non-executive director of the Department of Health last September, where she would receive a wage of £15,000 working 15-20 days a year. However, according to The Times, Hancock did not reveal when he appointed Mrs Coladangelo that she was his friend.
This abuse of power has led Parliament to spearhead an investigation into these appointments and attempt to discover how this happened, with a focus on how she acquired a Parliamentary pass, in which Lord Bethell is the main man under fire.
Once again, we have seen yet another example of a politician using a political position to give special privileges to their acquaintances. In this instance, Coladangelo was given a key role in the middle of the pandemic with no previous work in the health industry and would even accompany Hancock on several key meetings throughout this period.
Today, both have left their jobs. Hancock would go onto receive a £17,918 pay-off from the 1973 Ministerial Salaries Act and they have now both allegedly moved in together.
Now onto the leak.
What Happened After The Hancock Leak?
The firm that controlled the CCTV which captured the leaked video of Hancock’s affair is Emcor who currently have a £16 million contract with the Ministry of Defence.
Today, the government are no closer to exposing the whistle-blower, in which The Sun’s Editor-in-Chief (Newtown) has stated that she would‘rather go to jail’ than name their informant.
Immediately after The Sun exposed Matt Hancock affair, the Conservative Party would announce an investigation into the leak, which would be headed by the Department of Health and Social Care. Three weeks after the leak had occurred, there too would be raids on 2 properties in the South of England in an attempt to track down the individuals responsible.
These raids have led to questions by both Labour (Shadow Security Minister Conor McGinn) and The Liberal Democrats (Ed Davey) over individual freedoms.
Despite the Conservative Parties efforts to find the ‘perpetrator’ behind this leaked footage, there still remains a possibility that this could have been an inside job from the very start.
Matt Hancock has been a cash cow of scandals throughout the last year-and-a-half, dragging the government through multiple problematic events and has ultimately tested the prime-minister’s record of being loyal to his government colleagues. These scandals can be split into Hancock own mishaps and those that have been aired through the Dominic Cummings parliamentary investigation.
One of the earliest mistakes made by Hancock was through the organisation of data from the track-and-trace system, in which approximately 50,000 Covid Cases were lost in October (which has been attributed million-row limit on Microsoft excel), leaving these people to not being notified and consequently not to isolate.
Hancock would wade into even more dangerous waters when he didn’t declare that he had ties to Topwood Ltd after it recieved £300,000 from NHS Wales.
It would be revealed that Hancock owned 15% of the company, while his sister (Emily Gilruth) was director of the firm and owned an even larger portion of the shares.
Hancock’s actions would go against the ministerial code of conduct, which states that:
Ministers must scrupulously avoid any danger of an actual or perceived conflict of interest between their Ministerial position and their private financial interests. They should be guided by the general principle that they should either dispose of the interest giving rise to the conflict or take alternative steps to prevent it. In reaching their decision they should be guided by the advice given to them by their Permanent Secretary and the indepedent adviser on Ministers’ interests. Ministers’ decisions shoud not be influenced by the hope or expectation of future employment with a particular firm or organisation.Cabinent Office, Ministerial Code, Ministers’, Private Interests (7.7), August 2019.
Causing greater problems still, was the revealing narratives discussed by Dominic Cummings, in which he would discuss the personal strains between Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock throughout the pandemic.
In 2021, Cummings was called into a Parliamentary inquiry on the handling of Covid-19 where he revealed, among other things, that Hancock had been branded as ‘f***ing useless’, allegedly lied “to everyone on multiple occasions”, and “should have been fired for at least 15-20 things”.
If this wasn’t enough for certain high-profile ministers within the Conservative party to wish for a quick exit by Hancock, in an effort to reduce public outcry, then his repeatedly embarrassing performances on national television might be considered the icing on the cake.
Few can forget the images circulating around of Matt Hancock looking rather unnatural whilst playing football, strangely smelling the hair of Conservative Warrington candidate Wendy Maisey, his ‘potentially’ fake spout of tears on Good Morning Britain, or his utterance of one of the most narcissistic sentences presented on live television – “it’s very good to have me on” – after a morning interview with the BBC.
In this mixture of ministerial madness, we have seen scandals, lies, idiocy, and infidelity.
For Boris Johnson, this slew of media disasters clearly could not continue; for it would surely drag the Conservative Government through an even thicker mud. Hancock had been testing both the prime-minister’s patience and oath of loyalty – it was now at breaking point.
With the knowledge of Hancock’s affair and Savid Javid lined up as a replacement, the plot for Hancock’s expulsion was finally ready – all they needed was video evidence, a whistle-blower, and a paper to leak the information to.
The Sun, a paper well-known for exposing scandals, would either step forward for the opportunity or (more likely) was selected by members of the coup as the ideal medium to instigate the removal of Hancock.
The camera located in Hancock’s office, which was usually turned off, was conveniently positioned to show his room but not his balcony (which would pose a security risk).
Finally, a whistle-blower, shocked with the low standards of the health minister was selected and, in a flash, Hancock was out of the job.
No more embarrassing headlines or ministerial cock-up’s for this MP… Well, at least as the Health Secretary that is.
With the next election scheduled in 2024, both Hanock and the Conservatives will have ample time to recover from this scandal and allow the forgetful public’s steam of consciousness to drift until the next incident.
While the above is simply a hypothesis as to what occurred prior to the 25th of June – whether this is entirely fact, fiction, or a bit of both will almost certainly never surface – it remains important for the public to stay vigilant.
We should always question the media we are consuming (and yes, even the words you are reading right now), for the truth – the real truth – of any political foray is often shadowed in secrecy.