Gina Coladangelo and Matt Hancock have worked hand in hand since Oxford
- Edward Malnick
- Patrick Sawer
- Brendan McFadden
- Ben Gartside
26 JUNE 2021 • 8:21 PM
Gina Coladangelo started work for Matt Hancock during his short-lived Conservative Party leadership campaign in 2019, it has emerged.
Sources said Ms Coladangelo provided unpaid advice on the Health Secretary’s bid to replace Theresa May.
The work coincided with Mr Hancock sponsoring a parliamentary pass at the same time for his longtime friend, who has worked as communications director of Oliver Bonas, the homeware store, since 2014.
Mr Hancock declared his candidacy during a broadcast interview on May 25 2019, saying “we need a leader for the future, not just now”.
He quit the race on June 14 2019 – a day after coming sixth in the first ballot of Conservative MPs.
Ms Coladangelo was registered as holding a pass sponsored by Mr Hancock under her married name, Gina Tress, from June 2019.
Sources suggested she then started providing unpaid advice to Mr Hancock during the Covid-19 pandemic, before she was hired as a non-executive director at the Department of Health in September.
Ms Coladangelo first met Mr Hancock more than 25 years ago, when they were both studying politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) at Oxford University.
While there, they worked together on the student radio station Oxygen FM, where friends described them as “inseparable”.
After leaving Oxford, Ms Coladangelo joined the lobbying firm Luther Pendragon, which offers clients a “deep understanding of the mechanics of government”, going on to become one of its directors and shareholders, while Mr Hancock began building his career in politics.
The pair’s relationship is now facing further scrutiny over two Department for Health and Social Care contracts awarded during Mr Hancock’s tenure as Health Secretary. He quit the post on Saturday in the wake of his affair with Ms Coladangelo being exposed.
In June 2019, Luther Pendragon was awarded work worth over £40,000 on the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review. Ms Coladangelo’s brother Roberto, 42, was also awarded healthcare contracts following her appointment as an advisor to Mr Hancock, and her appointment as a non-executive director to the Department for Health.
Mr Coladangelo’s firm, Partnering Health Limited, was awarded work with the South Central Ambulance Service in November 2020.
Justin Madders, Labour’s shadow health minister, has called for further investigations into the contracts. Mr Madders said: “Each new day seems to bring a new level of cronyism and sleaze for this government.
“Anyone who has a passing connection to the Health Secretary or the Conservative Party can seemingly bag themselves an NHS contract.”
A close friend of Ms Coladangelo has told how she is “in shock” following the publication of CCTV footage of her in a passionate embrace with Mr Hancock and is finding the situation “tough”.
It is believed that Ms Coladangelo, 43, travelled to her father Rino’s house, an idyllic cottage nestled in the Cambridgeshire countryside, after the footage of the pair kissing in a breach of social distancing guidelines was revealed.
Speaking at Mr Coladangelo’s home in Steeple Morden, the friend said: “I am in communication with them. It’s tough. Gina is not particularly happy. She does not want to talk to anybody, it is all just too soon. It is all just a shock to us all, everybody, friends and family actually.”
Ms Coladangelo also attended university alongside Mr Hancock’s wife Martha, 44, an osteopath, and the two women graduated around the same time.
While it is not known if Ms Coladangelo and Mrs Hancock knew each other at Oxford. They did remain friends on Facebook until Saturday at least.
The two families both have homes in London, with Ms Coladangelo living with her multi-millionaire husband Oliver Tress, the founder of the fashion chain Oliver Bonas, and their three children in a £4 million house in Wandsworth, south London, while the Hancocks live six miles away in Queen’s Park.
As the fallout over the incriminating images of the illicit embrace continued, flowers were delivered to the house Mr Hancock shares with his wife. The pink peonies in a glass vase were placed on the front doorstep by a delivery man, who arrived just after 10am on Saturday.Martha Hancock. She remained in London on Saturday while her husband was believed to be staying in Suffolk
Mr Hancock was believed to be staying at their house in Suffolk, while Mrs Hancock has remained at the home in London with the children. From here she emerged early on Saturday morning to take her dog for a walk, with Whitehall rumours speculating she had thrown her husband out of the family home.
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- Gina Coladangelo and Matt Hancock have worked hand in hand since OxfordBy Edward Malnick, Patrick Sawer, Brendan McFadden, Ben Gartside26 Jun 2021, 08:21PM
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