The ex-Cabinet minister has sparked national fury after he secretly ignored the restrictions he imposed on millions during the pandemic while cheating on his wife of 15 years with millionaire aide Gina Coladangelo.
Last night Mr Hancock quit government and his marriage to Martha Hancock, the mother of his three children after Prime Minister Boris Johnson came under huge public pressure to sack him.
Today Newmarket locals said they were ‘happy’ that the MP for West Suffolk had resigned from the Cabinet as they accused him of ‘hypocrisy and double standards’ over coronavirus restrictions.
Residents described how they had been prevented from visiting their grandchildren by Mr Hancock, while some admitted they only voted for him in 2019 to keep Labour out. Others were thrilled to hear that the minister whose regulations had kept their businesses shut had left the Government.
Graham Gladstone, 41, said: ‘He should have resigned immediately. The defence from Boris Johnson shows a contempt towards British members of public who have followed the rules and NHS staff who have had to be involved in treating people and the consequences of the virus.
‘It seemed typical of Conservative ministers to see what the public reaction was rather than think about the consequences of what he did. Especially after he publicly denounced Neil Ferguson.’
Hannah Grimwood, 32, who works at Argos and has lived in Newmarket for 10 years, said: ‘I never liked him in the first place, I’ve been moaning about the man for years. I feel sorry for Boris Johnson, he had too much on his plate and too many people telling him what he should and shouldn’t do.’
Jane Ramage, 65, a manager at Godolhpin private laundry, said: ‘I’ve always been a Conservative voter, but he should have gone that day. He was the one setting the rules and regulations, and it just makes a mockery of him telling us we couldn’t see our families’
Lisa Karpuk, 38, said Mr Hancock resigning as Home Secretary was ‘the right thing’. ‘He’s a chap in power and if he expected everyone else to follow the rules then he should have followed the rules,’ she added.
Hannah Grimwood, 32, who works at Argos and has lived in Newmarket for 10 years, said: ‘I never liked him in the first place, I’ve been moaning about the man for years. I feel sorry for Boris Johnson, he had too much on his plate and too many people telling him what he should and shouldn’t do.’ Miss Grimwood’s partner Gary Holliday, 42, added: ‘If you make the rules you have to follow the rules. He’s only human but when it’s happening a couple of times or more then members of the public are going to think it’s not fair.’
Left: Taxi driver Karim Afzal. Right: Simon Bennett, who Simon Bennett, 48, who lives in central Newmarket and runs a hairdressing business which has been closed for the last seven months, said: ‘I’m happy he’s gone. I’ve lived in Newmarket for a long time. It’s typical mainstream Westminster politicians’
Taste of his own medicine? Labour urge Scotland Yard to investigate Matt Hancock’s rule-breaking kiss with aide… a year after he said he would BACK a police probe into Professor Lockdown’s breach
A shadow Cabinet minister has urged the police to investigate cheating Matt Hancock after the disgraced former Health Secretary was pictured flouting social distancing restrictions with his mistress.
Shadow Housing Secretary Lucy Powell said that Labour MP Fleur Anderson had referred Mr Hancock to the Metropolitan Police to find out if any lockdown laws had been broken.
Speaking to Trevor Phillips On Sunday on Sky News, Miss Powell claimed that Mr Hancock put people at risk of the virus by being in ‘two bubbles at the same time, unbeknown to other people in that bubble’.
The Labour frontbencher pointed to the former Health Secretary’s own calls for police to investigate Professor Neil Ferguson last year after the SAGE adviser broke lockdown to see his lover, adding: ‘You can’t have the rule maker also being the rule breaker, people want to know there’s accountability in that.’
Mr Hancock had condemned the actions of ‘Professor Lockdown’ in an interview with Sky News on May 6, 2020, calling them ‘extraordinary’ and saying it ‘would not be possible’ for Prof Ferguson to have kept his job after reports emerged of his tryst with Antonia Staats.
Although the Metropolitan Police decided not to prosecute Prof Ferguson, Mr Hancock had said he would back the police if they wanted to take action over the matter.
Miss Grimwood’s partner Gary Holliday, 42, added: ‘If you make the rules you have to follow the rules. He’s only human but when it’s happening a couple of times or more then members of the public are going to think it’s not fair.’
Joe Karran, 20, who was out in Newmarket with with grandmother Olive Karran, 82, said: ‘I hope it’s the first of many resignations from this current cabinet. I think Boris should have fired him.’
Miss Karran added: ‘He should have fired him. It’s just so deceitful, that’s the word. The hypocrisy and double standards. It’s been one rule for them and one rule for us the whole time.’
Lisa, 50, who refused to give her surname, said: ‘I think Boris Johnson should have sacked him but he’s got no backbone. It’s the same with Cummings, he supported him. It just seems to be that more and more there’s one rule for them and one rule for the people: it’s hypocrisy. My teenage daughter hasn’t seen her boyfriend for months. The youngsters have really suffered, in education too.’
Lisa Karpuk, 38, said Mr Hancock resigning as Home Secretary was ‘the right thing’.
‘He’s a chap in power and if he expected everyone else to follow the rules then he should have followed the rules,’ she added.
Jane Ramage, 65, a manager at Godolhpin private laundry, said: ‘I’ve always been a Conservative voter, but he should have gone that day. He was the one setting the rules and regulations, and it just makes a mockery of him telling us we couldn’t see our families.
‘I couldn’t see my son or grandchildren for months last year. We stuck to the rules rigidly – I was stuck in my flat on my own and he’s doing that. It’s not personal to him, but whoever is making the rules they have to set an example. Now people are going to think if they bring in new regulations or extend these ones, ‘hang on a minute’.’
Simon Bennett, 48, who lives in central Newmarket and runs a hairdressing business which has been closed for the last seven months, said: ‘I’m happy he’s gone. I’ve lived in Newmarket for a long time. It’s typical mainstream Westminster politicians.
‘In Newmarket he only likes to be seen with people in the high up racing industry. He’s not often in Newmarket.’
Mr Bennett said he did vote for Hancock in the last election but only to keep Labour out. ‘I run my own business and I’ve been closed for seven months of the last year,’ he said.
‘I wrote to Hancock several times and the response I got was from his lackeys. It’s a complete conflict of interest not to disclose a relationship you’re having and she’s on the pay roll.’
He said everyone knew he needed to resign and added that he wouldn’t vote for the Conservative Party again after their response to the pandemic.
Public sentiment is reminiscent of the anger which erupted in May last year following Dominic Cummings’ rule-breaking 200-mile drive from London to Barnard Castle in Country Durham during the first shutdown.
Together with growing exasperation at the never-ending cycle of lockdowns, people are taking matters into their own hands – with small retailers discouraging mask-wearing while massive anti-lockdown protests sweep through London calling for Mr Hancock’s arrest.
Shops in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, placed signs in windows showing Mr Hancock kissing Miss Coladangelo, who studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford at the same time as Mr Hancock in the 1990s and is married to Oliver Bonas founder Oliver Tress.
The signs say: ‘Welcome to House Interiors. Don’t wear a mask if you don’t want too (sic). Matt doesn’t’.
Matt Hancock’s rule-breaking affair with millionaire aide Gina Coladangelo has inspired a wave of anti-lockdown sentiment after the disgraced Health Secretary undermined his own pandemic policy
Matt Hancock, 42, resigned as Health Secretary and left his wife of 15 years after images published this week showed him kissing Miss Coladangelo, 43, in his ministerial office in breach of coronavirus restrictions
Police were pictured removing a sticker put on Mr Hancock’s London home, where his wife Martha and their children live. It says: ‘Our forefathers gave their lives to keep this country free, and you’re just going to sit back and let it become an authoritarian hellhole, over a virus with a 99.9% recovery rate?’
TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp said the incident showed how ‘it was one rule for you, another for us’, tweeting: ‘I remember footage of Hancock whipping of his mask as he entered No 10, not even keeping it on in the corridors as school children were made to do, I knew then it was one rule for you, another for us.’
One furious Twitter user posted on the social media site: ‘Through ignoring the rules of the lockdown he put in place (rules that civilians face prison time and life ruining fines for breaking), Hancock has demonstrated the unequal rights of those in power and those that are not…’
Another said: ‘The elite confirmed at G7 they don’t believe this. Hancock the latest in a long line of politicians, bureaucrats & ‘expert’ to breach their own stupid rules’.
DailyMail.com’s editor-at-large Piers Morgan condemned Mr Hancock just hours before he resigned. Sharing a photo of the former minister embracing Miss Coladangelo, he contrasted it to one of the Queen, who was forced to wear a mask and sit on her own during her husband’s funeral in April.
Posting the meme on Twitter, Mr Morgan wrote: ‘This perfectly sums up why Hancock is toast.’
Hilarious memes shared online include a picture of Mr Hancock sliding down a slide ‘into Gina Coladangelo’s Whatsapp’ and the Health Secretary with a pair of women’s pants over his head.
Retailers in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, have now placed a sign in a shop window showing Mr Hancock kissing Miss Coladangelo. The sign reads: ‘Welcome to House Interiors. Don’t wear a mask if you don’t want too (sic). Matt doesn’t’
Metropolitan Police officers were pictured removing a sticker put on Mr Hancock’s home in north London, where his wife Martha and their children are living. The sticker reads: ‘Our forefathers gave their lives to keep this country free, and you’re just going to sit back and let it become an authoritarian hellhole, over a virus with a 99.9% recovery rate?’
Police were pictured removing a sticker put on Mr Hancock’s home in north London
Public sentiment is reminiscent of the visceral anger which erupted in May last year following Dominic Cummings’ rule-breaking 200-mile drive from London to Barnard Castle in Country Durham during the first shutdown
Another meme shows Mr Hancock doing press ups next to Chris Hemsworth with the caption: ‘How we see Matt Hancock Vs how Gina Coladangelo sees him’.
Stills of Mr Hancock belting out Queen anthem Don’t Stop Me Now at the 2017 Conservative Party Conference were tabbed up with the caption: ‘It was only a kiss, how did it end up like this?’
Sky News presenter Trevor Phillips today told a Cabinet minister defending Mr ‘where to get off’ after describing how hundreds of loved ones were prevented from attending his daughter’s funeral while the Health Secretary broke lockdown with his mistress.
The anti-racism campaigner told Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis how he buried freelance journalist Sushila Phillips, 36, on May 11 – just five days after cheating Mr Hancock kissed his aide in his ministerial office, in images obtained by the Sun newspaper.
Mr Phillips, who chaired the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said 300 friends and family were forced to watch the funeral online because they were banned from the graveside ‘even though it was in the open air, because of the rule of 30, because of the instruction by Mr Hancock’.
A visibly uncomfortable Mr Lewis listened as the Sky News broadcaster then asked: ‘Now the next time one of you tells me what to do in my private life, explain to me why I shouldn’t just tell you where to get off?’
Sushila died ‘peacefully in her own bed’ after a 22-year battle with anorexia, her family announced on Facebook in April. They called her ‘one of the wisest, kindest, strongest and funniest people’ and ‘a force and the most beautiful soul’.
Pointing out the Government’s double standard, Mr Phillips said: ‘I want to put a private – personal question I guess, in a way – to you. Over the past two days every Cabinet minster including you has come out to essentially defend the Prime Minister and Matt Hancock.
Piers Morgan shared an image of the Health Secretary embracing Miss Coladangelo next to a picture of the Queen sitting alone at Prince Philip’s funeral
It comes after her husband, 42, stood down from his role as Health Secretary after leaked CCTV footage surfaced of him locking lips and fondling married mother-of-three Gina Coladangelo, 43
Sky News presenter Trevor Phillips today told a Cabinet minister defending Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson ‘where to get off’ after describing how hundreds of loved ones were prevented from attending his daughter’s funeral while the Health Secretary broke rules with his mistress
‘The pictures that we saw were of an encounter on May the 6th. On May the 11th my family buried my daughter who had died not of Covid but during the lockdown. Three hundred of our family and friends turned up online but most of them were not allowed to be at the graveside even though it was in the open air because of the rule of 30, because of the instruction by Mr Hancock.
‘Now the next time one of you tells me what to do in my private life, explain to me why I shouldn’t just tell you where to get off?’
Mr Lewis then blurted out: ‘Look I absolutely accept and understand the frustration, even the anger, people have, having been rough the situations they’ve been through.
‘People across the country, I’ve lost friends whose funerals I’ve not been able to go to over the last period – that is such a tragic situation for any of us to be in, and that’s – I have to say – why its so important all of us do what we can to keep ourselves, our families, our friends, our wider community safe.
‘It’s also why what Matt did was wrong. He acknowledged that, why he apologised immediately for his behaviour and acknowledged what he did was wrong, and it’s also why he’s taken the decision that his position was untenable and distracted from the wider work that we’ve all got to do to move forward in the pandemic and out of the pandemic.’
Public anger with lockdown has reached a tipping point, following the events of the past 48 hours.
Boris Johnson last week struggled to contain a Cabinet split on whether to retain the mask mandate after July 19, the so-called ‘Freedom Day’.
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg hinted that he believes all coronavirus restrictions should end in July as he was grilled by MPs on whether domestic vaccine passports could be rolled out next month when Mr Johnson is due to press ahead with the final stage in his roadmap.
But referring to Mr Johnson previously describing the date as a ‘terminus’ point, Mr Rees-Mogg said ‘terminus is Paddington not Crewe’ and it should mean the ‘end of the line’ in comments which appeared to support lifting all the remaining draconian curbs.
The remarks came as Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Environment Secretary George Eustice both said they will ditch face masks the moment they are not compulsory – and suggested that should happen on July 19.
Mr Eustice dismissed the idea he would keep wearing face coverings when they are not required, saying: ‘I want to get back to normal.’ He also reiterated that the plan is for ‘all legal restrictions’ to lift in England on July 19.
Mr Sunak gave a similar message as he said it is his ‘strong expectation’ that the unlocking will go ahead on schedule. Asked at the Times CEO summit if he would stop wearing masks when they are not legally required, Mr Sunak said: ‘Yes, as soon as possible.’
However, in signs of tensions at the heart of government, Downing Street said the Prime Minister is only aiming to ‘get back as close to normal as is possible’ and ‘no final decisions have been taken’.
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon suggested earlier this week that the Scottish government could keep advising people to wear masks beyond August even if they are not mandatory.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also warned that masks and other face coverings should still be required on the Tube and buses as they give people ‘confidence’ they are safe.
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