On Friday, social media exploded when the nation woke up to find a picture of Health Secretary Matt Hancock snogging a woman who is not his wife on the front page of The Sun. Well, he was snogging her on the Department of Health, not on the front page of The Sun, but you get our drift. In many ways, it's an old school political scandal, something that we were far more used to seeing in the Nineties. Many people, therefore, have rolled their eyes, dismissing the story as silly and unimportant, pointing out that it is Matt Hancock's woeful performance and horrendous failings as Health Secretary that should be making front page news.
The key thing in this case, though, is that this sex scandal and his role in letting this country down time after time are completely connected. Because this is not a private, alleged affair that Matt has quietly enjoyed during dirty weekends away or long lunch afternoon delights in a nearby Holiday Inn. People are angry because the nature of the affair claims shows Matt's seeming disregard for proper hiring channels and social distancing measures.
By Saturday, following a day of backlash, Hancock had resigned, writing in his resignation letter: 'We have worked so hard as a country to fight the pandemic. The last thing I would want is for my private life to distract attention from the single-minded focus that is leading us out of this crisis. I want to reiterate my apology for breaking the guidance, and apologise to my family and loved ones for putting them through this. I also need [to] be with my children at this time.'
And on Sunday, the story took another turn as it was reported by Sky News' Beth Rigby that Hancock has left his wife for the aide he was caught kissing.
Naturally, there has been an enormous spike in interest on Google and other search engines surrounding the two women who have now been thrust into the spotlight by Matt's apparent actions. It's a tale as old as time: the apparently cheating politician is, of course, getting the headlines, but the mistress and the wife are also receiving their share of the attention. So who are they?
Who is Gina Colandangelo, Matt Hancock's aide?
First, let's meet the woman photographed in an amorous clinch with Matt at a time where the global pandemic threatened to bring this country to its knees. Her name? Gina Coladangelo. She is 43, and met Matt at Oxford university when they worked together at the student radio station.
Gina is a marketing and communications director at beloved high street chain Oliver Bonas. She is also married to the brand's founder, Oliver Tress. But she was also appointed to the Department of Health's board of non-executive directors. The position held a salary of £15,000 per year. And As Gina had no obvious health credentials, it was later accused that she had been hired for personal reasons of cronyism. However, a spokesperson for the Department of Health rubbished these suggestions, while Hancock's Head Of Communications emphasised to Grazia that she was 'initially brought in as a volunteer'.
Gina is yet to comment on these reports.
Who is Martha Hancock, Matt Hancock's wife?
As in any political scandal of this nature, we have now seen the traditional photographs of Matt's wife leaving the house on Friday. She was still wearing a wedding ring, and was described as 'humiliated' by one title, despite the fact one cannot decide that someone else is humiliated. Matt's wife's name is Martha.
They have been married for 15 years, and she works as an osteopath. They live in Suffolk, but also have a London home, and they have three children.Martha's grandfather was Frederick Miller, a British diplomat who served as Ambassador to West Germany in the Fifties.
Martha is also yet to make a comment or statement.
The ripples of this story are set to be felt more and more in the coming days. When using social media do bear in mind that while a salacious political story is naturally incredibly intriguing, some of the people involved had a very nasty surprise last week and are now contemplating the future of their long-term relationships.