Prime Minister was right not to sack Hancock over affair, says Gove

Boris Johnson was right not to sack Matt Hancock after evidence of his office affair emerged, Michael Gove has said.

The former health secretary resigned the day after photographs of him kissing advisor Gina Coladangelo were published by The Sun newspaper.

The Prime Minister subsequently claimed, through his spokesman, that he “considered the matter closed” after Mr Hancock apologised to him for breaking social distancing rules with the embrace inside his Whitehall office.

But the following day the married 42-year-old West Suffolk MP announced he was resigning.

Asked about the saga during a visit to Aberdeen, Mr Gove, the Cabinet Minister, said: “I think that Matt made the right decision.

“I think in all of these questions, all of us have an opportunity to reflect on different aspects of the matter.

“But now that Matt has made his decision, I think we should respect that.”

Challenged about whether the Prime Minister, who was himself sacked by former Conservative leader Michael Howard for lying about an affair, did the right thing by not sacking him, Mr Gove said, “yes”.

Coronavirus – Wed Sep 30, 2020
Matt Hancock was right to resign over his affair with an advisor, Michael Gove has said (Yui Mok/PA)

He added: “Matt did the right thing and the second thing that I would say is the matter now is resolved because we have a new Health Secretary.”

In response to another question about Mr Hancock’s conduct, he added: “Matt, to my mind, was a dedicated public servant.

“He made a mistake, but we should remember that he was one of those central to the successful vaccination program and he worked incredibly hard for the NHS.

“He’s now resigned and I think we should respect his privacy now.”