Matt Hancock SHOULD have declared relationship with lover Gina Coladangelo, blasts Jacob Rees-Mogg

JACOB Rees-Mogg waded into the Matt Hancock row today and suggested the ex-Health Secretary SHOULD have declared his relationship with lover Gina Coladangelo.

Speaking to Conservative Home's podcast about The Sun's scoop about Mr Hancock and the Department for Health executive, he said it was only proper that officials knew about it.

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While Mr Hancock served as Health Secretary, Ms Coladangelo was a non-executive director at the Department for Health – in a role which was paid £15,000 a year from the public purse.

When grilled on the affair and whether it was properly declared, he said in a stinging rebuke: "If a minister appointed his wife as a non-executive director, you'd hope the Cabinet Office would know.

"What did the lady in question bring [to the role]? I don't know, but there was a process for her appointment… to make sure people have the qualifications to carry out their role."

He said he wasn't speaking about individual appointments and relationships, but pointed out that MPs had to declare relationships with their staff members.

The Cabinet minister and Commons boss added: "A member of parliament who has an employee with whom he or she then develops a relationship… is expected to declare that to IPSA, because there are limitations and restrictions on family members you may employ.

"There are rules around that, I think there are likely to be rules around disclosure of personal relationships in other areas too," he said.

But he backed the PM's decision to stick by Mr Hancock, saying it was "one of the PM's many attractive qualities" and a "strength" of his leadership.

On Friday The Sun revealed Mr Hancock and close aide Gina Coladangelo – who are both married – have been having an affair and were pictured not observing social distancing during May's partial lockdown.

The pair were both at Oxford University in the late 1990s and met while working at university radio station Oxygen FM – and have been pals for years.

The pair are believed to have both left their partners to set up home and friends have told The Sun they want to give their relationship a go.

Mr Hancock quit as Health Secretary over the huge row, after The Sun's reveal last week.

The PM initially backed him, but he quit the following afternoon after pressure mounted against him.

Sajid Javid has taken over the role, and said last night he plans to end all Covid rules possible on July 19.

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