Ed Davey hits right note on Matt Hancock’s dalliance and competence

According to reports across the media, Matt Hancock had an affair with an adviser to his department. This happens all the time and is barely a matter of public concern these days. Unless Gina Coladangelo had been hired, or her hiring, had been influenced by her relationship with the health secretary.

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey hit it spot on in his response on Twitter this morning.

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  • I would respectfully disagree; integrity matters and Matt Hancock has shown a total lack of it. You can learn a lot about someone by how they behave when they think no-one is looking. And seeing how someone acts in smaller matters is a good indicator for whether they can be trusted with larger ones.

    His credibility in his professional public role will be impaired due to this being known, whether it’s social distancing advice, appointing to roles or simply being trusted with public assets. And leading our health response out of COVID-19 is one of the most critical jobs in the country.

    However what’s most worrying of all, is that government CCTV of his private office has been leaked and published. This has security implications, and suggests he has enemies in very powerful places.

  • Steve Trevethan 25th Jun '21 - 1:38pm

    Might this be a situation requiring it’s own test and trace?

  • Steve Trevethan 25th Jun '21 - 2:05pm

    Might a more serious related matter be that of equity of law enforcement?
    Did the people involved break any laws?
    If so, what is to be done about it?

  • Helen Dudden 25th Jun '21 - 2:05pm

    I think this shows Hancock to be done I couldn’t trust. How hurtful for his wife and family. The same goes for his friends family and children.
    As a woman I would not put my trust in some one who could behave this way, professionally or personally.
    Rules for others ignored and do as I say, not as I do. This echoes through the life of this government.

  • So Matt Hancock has apologised for breaking social distancing guidelines, not for being unfaithful to his wife. But I agree with Ed about the priorities here.

  • BBC News just now ……

    A year before the photos were taken, Matt Hancock commented on the actions of Prof Neil Ferguson. Prof Ferguson quit as a government adviser after the Telegraph reported that a woman he was said to be in a relationship with had visited his home in lockdown.

    At the time, Mr Hancock told Sky News that it was “just not possible” for Prof Ferguson to continue advising the government. He said the social distancing rules “are there for everyone” and are “deadly serious”.

    As recently as last month Mr Hancock said the person he was looking forward to hugging was his Mum…………………..

    So that’s alright then……..

  • Brad Barrows 25th Jun '21 - 4:04pm

    If someone can not be trusted in their private life, they can not be trusted in their public life. Trust, integrity and honesty are either qualities you process – or you don’t.

  • Nonconformistradical 25th Jun '21 - 4:54pm

    “Rules for others ignored and do as I say, not as I do. This echoes through the life of this government.”

  • John Marriott 25th Jun '21 - 5:36pm

    In her Diary, Sasha Swire has a rather naughty sobriquet for Mr Hancock, which makes use of two parts of the male anatomy. Perhaps, with hindsight, he ought to have used one of stifle the other.

    (Thinks: “Will they dare to print this?”)

  • John Marriott 25th Jun '21 - 5:37pm

    Well, I take it back, Editors. YOU HAVE!

  • Steve Trevethan 25th Jun '21 - 8:13pm

    Mr Murphy of “Tax Research U. K.” has some pertinent comments and questions on this affair which the L. D. leadership should follow up with vigour.

  • CHRISTOPHER JOHN MOO 25th Jun '21 - 8:19pm

    Several of you seem to have forgotten that one of our finest leaders, Paddy, had an extra-marital affair.

    Do you believe this disqualified him for participation in public life on the grounds he could not be “trusted”?

    I’m impressed by the impeccable moral fibre exhibited by several posters. It’s good to know that you have never put a foot wrong in your private lives. Have you ever made any serious mistakes?

    I believe you need to read the research about the frequency of infidelity. If you are saying anyone who has been unfaithful is not fit for public life, there will be a much reduced pool of people to choose from.

    Ed Davey has got this spot on.

  • John Marriott 25th Jun '21 - 10:17pm

    Matt Hancock was telling us last year to “keep doing your bit” during the pandemic. Well, he certainly did his! Joking aside, it’s not about ‘infidelity’, Mr ‘Moo’. It’s about hypocrisy. Do as I say, not do as I do. Whether it’s testing your eyesight or waiving the rules to keep a cup final it’s the same old story. You either have a system or you have nothing. No ifs and no buts.

  • Nonconformistradical 25th Jun '21 - 10:25pm

    @Christopher John Moo
    I remember the Paddy Ashdown affair well. I recall seeing on TV Jane Ashdown, trying to take the dog for a walk while being pursued by a pack of media hounds – and telling them that her dog (apparently desperate for a p) was cross-legged. And if I recall correctly she said she knew all about the affair anyway.

    But Paddy wasn’t in the position of being part of a ‘government’ dishing out advice to all and sundry about social distancing guidelines – and then disrgarding the same rules.

  • Jayne mansfield 25th Jun '21 - 10:47pm

    Mr Hancock’s personal lifestyle is a matter for the man himself and of others personally involved. However, Ed Davy might have also pointed out that what matters to many, is that he broke the rules that he expected others to follow.

    There are grieving families in this country who could not visit relatives in hospital. They accepted this cruel responsibility because of a belief in the common good. They denied themselves the right to be with their loved ones when giving birth or seriously ill and at risk of a lonely death.

    Families have been unable to visit loved elderly relatives in care homes, and others have made other difficult sacrifices because of a deep sense of social responsibility.

    Once upon a time there were Tory politicians who resigned in ignominy because they had been caught out having behaved in the do as I say, not as I do, entitled Mr Hancock.
    But he is a member of a government that has no shame.

  • The bottom line is that it’s yet more evidence that the people imposing lockdowns on the country do not actually believe in their own rules. Countries with less vaccine compliance have already opened up, but we’re still stuck with them because of the untrustworthy hypocritical self serving likes of Hancock. Our supine opposition did precisely nothing to challenge that awful man and his cohorts attack on normalcy. Not only should he be sacked, but his tendency towards cronyism should be scrutinised.

  • Chris Moore 26th Jun '21 - 8:05am

    Please could the moderators restore the last two letters of my name on my previous post?!!

    I am Chris Moore, not Chris Moo!

    John Marriot, I’m glad to hear it’s NOT about infidelity.

    Hopefully, there will be no more stones thrown on those grounds.

  • The whole video is a cracker

  • Hancock’s affair is distasteful, but he’s hardly the first or the last politician to let their family in that way, but the situation is not remotely comparable to Paddy Ashdown.

    One issue is the hypocrisy of being involved in setting the lockdown rules and passing judgement on others for breaking them.

    But IMO the biggest issue is appointing an old friend and affair partner to a taxpayer-funded position of influence without following the proper process, when that person’s day job is working for a political lobbying firm, and her brother works at a healthcare company. It just stinks…….

  • Helen Dudden 26th Jun '21 - 8:55am

    There has been questions asked about the present situation we have. If Hancock sees no wrong in hugging or kissing after we are all told its wrong. One of my grandchildren has been ill, they were so upset by the situation. we are in, they became physically ill.
    Was there a reason the lady was offered a position so close to him?
    At times, we are all put in positions that could cause us further problems, if not handled carefully.
    But, to consider others is important, also to respect that perhaps somethings would be more acceptable if kept out of the professional side to life. If someone is serious about a relationship then respect should come into it.
    Paddy was not in the heart of government, not telling others how to behave, in itself causing so much grief.
    I’m sorry, but for me personally, I feel he should give up his position, we need a Public Inquiry.

  • Chris Moore 26th Jun '21 - 9:41am

    If the criticism of Matt Hancock is that he has been unfaithful, then it IS directly comparable to Paddy Ashdown’s behaviour, and indeed that of other Lib Dem politicians and a very large sample of the general populace, which includes posters on here.

    Matt has been a poor Health Secretary. Those are the grounds he should be criticised on – and for not following his own health guidelines.

    Ed Davey was spot on.

  • For me the villain of piece is Boris Johnson – in that he could have saved at least 60,000 lives if had ordered a lockdown at the end of last September as recommended by SAGE and I believe by Matt Hancock but Johnson went against his scientific advisors’ advice – somewhat egged on by the tabloid press.

    If Hancock did advise in favour of a September lockdown then he should have resigned then if he had any integrity. And we had ultimately to have a longer lockdown with greater economic damage as well as having more deaths.

    Clearly an affair is not a resigning matter in of itself.

    And while I appreciate the arguments about setting an example and there not been one rule for some and another for others, I find the glee upon which the tabloids set upon people – and we have seen journalist themselves such as at Sky News being far from blameless – somewhat distasteful.

    A minor speeding offence would not be a resigning matter. If someone has broken the rules and done so against the law then they should be investigated by the police and if found to have broken the law fined.

  • John Marriott 26th Jun '21 - 10:15am

    @Chris Moore
    So that’s who you are. Better leave out your middle name from now on, hey?
    In seeking a comparison with our beleaguered Health Minister, whom future generations may view as a footnote, perhaps a kind of ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’ in terms of time, there has been an attempt to compare his execution of what the Germans delightfully call a ‘Seitensprung’ (surely no need for explanation) with that of the late great Paddy Ashdown.

    There are, of course, some subtle and less subtle differences. The first clearly is that one is sadly no longer with us. However, the real difference is that one has been allowed to set out his wares on the national stage, by virtue of his membership of the Conservative Party, in a crucial ministerial rôle that clearly demands courage and honesty, while the other, because he stayed true to his beliefs, never got that chance here at home.

  • Well thank you for your kind and wise remarks about my name, John Marriott.

    My full name and e-mail was entered automatically when I clicked on the name space.

    And I then clicked on “Post Comment” without checking the name. I’m very sorry to have done that, John Marriot.

    There is no point Lib Dems being self-righteous about infidelity in other parties’ politicians. I can think of several examples of liberal Seitensprungen. Doubtless, there are many others that are not known to the general public.

    There are many other better grounds for criticising Matt Hancock.

  • Helen Dudden 26th Jun '21 - 1:24pm

    As a former wife, and as a mother, I look at things a little differently.
    So many have lived with trauma, as the no to closeness with anyone, out side of the understood restrictions.
    Not being able to say goodbye for some.
    Hancock has to go, there were other’s in the government that should have gone.

  • Chris Moore 26th Jun '21 - 8:46pm

    Hello Helen,

    Infidelity is a betrayal of another human being (and children as well, sometimes).

    But I don’t think it should disqualify someone from serving the public. As I’m sure you’re aware various Prime Ministers have had “irregular” private lives, as have quite a few Liberal/Lib Dem politicians.

    The reality is that infidelity is not uncommon either amongst men or women.

    I voted for Paddy Ashdown for leader (and indeed Chris Huhne). Had I known more about Paddy’s romantic life, I STILL would have voted for him, as I believe he was our best leader at the time. And had many, many outstanding qualities.

    No human being whom I have got to know well is without serious flaws. If we are saying having a serious flaw disqualifies someone from serving the public, we will not have ANY politicians.

    all the best

  • Helen Dudden 26th Jun '21 - 10:35pm

    That non serious flaw has cost him his job.

    Paddy Ashdown served for many years in the armed forces. I met him at several meetings of the Lib Dems. Also, I have met Johnson as with several other MPs on my journey through the problems with International Law, .and Illegal Child Retention within relationship breakdowns.

    I have seen the consequences of relationship breakdowns, and of course, perhaps I feel more strongly on the subject.

    I am not here to be judged, but in the future my vote will be for honesty and transparency within government.

  • John Marriott 26th Jun '21 - 10:52pm

    Well, Hancock has done the honourable thing and resigned. Welcome back, Mr Javid!

  • Politicians are not special or above judgement. They choose to rule as a career and often impose judgement on others. In Hancock’s case the bigger issue is the suspicion of cronyism and the hypocrisy of telling other people what they can or can’t do. As with Ferguson and Cummings, it’s abundantly obvious that he never really believed in the scare campaign he willingly imposed on the population. The special status given to football officials shows exactly same thing. It’s one rule for thee and no rules for me. We need to wake up to this, rather just accepting the dictats used to keep the nation compliant. It should not be brushed aside because of a resignation.

  • Helen Dudden 26th Jun ’21 – 10:35pm
    That non serious flaw has cost him his job.

    I’ve lost your line of thinking there.

    Which “non-serious” flaw has cost him his job?

    Infidelity IS wrong. It is SERIOUSLY wrong. But it is also very common.

    As a society we can’t do without people with serious flaws. There are no other types of people.

  • John Marriott 26th Jun ’21 – 10:52pm……….Well, Hancock has done the honourable thing and resigned. Welcome back, Mr Javid!………….

    I trust you are being ironic? There is nothing ‘honourable’ about this resignation..Hancock resigned because he was splashed across the front page of the ‘Sun’…The honourable resignation would have been for his umpteen failures NOT printed in the right wing tabloids..

    As for Javid; hardly a ‘savior’… It says much about the dearth in talent in this government that a ‘revolving door’ (left open for Hancock) policy is applauded..

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