GRANT Shapps has tried to defend Matt Hancock over his explosive affair, calling it a "red herring" and praising him for doing a "great job."
The Sun revealed last night that the Health Secretary cheated on his wife with Gina Coladangelo, 43, who he hired last year with taxpayers’ money, as Covid gripped Britain.
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Following the shocking affair, Grant Shapps said on Sky News today: "I think it's a bit of a red herring.
"And in this case, I think it's really a personal story.
"The Health Secretary has been working very hard rolling out this vaccine programme. And so I'll leave it there."
And speaking about how Gina Coladangel was hired as an aid during the pandemic, the Travel Secretary said: "In terms of rules, anyone who's been appointed has to go through an incredibly rigorous process in Government.
"So whatever the rules are, the rules will have to be followed.
"There are no shortcuts as anyone who has anything to do with the appointments system in the civil service knows there are very strict rules in place.
"I would only ever appoint somebody who's qualified for the role, as I understand that this individual was more than qualified for the role of being provided."
Mr Hancock cheated on his wife with Gina Coladangelo, 43, who he hired last year with taxpayers’ money, as Covid gripped Britain.
Mr Hancock, 42, and millionaire lobbyist Gina were caught on camera in a steamy clinch at his Whitehall office.
Whistleblowers revealed the Health Secretary had been spotted cheating on his wife of 15 years with married Ms Coladangelo.
He was seen kissing her at the Department of Health’s London HQ during office hours last month as the mutant strain began spreading.
Matt Hancock married his wife Martha, an osteopath, in 2006 and the pair have three children together.
The couple lives in Little Thurlow in his West Suffolk constituency with their one daughter and three sons.
A Whitehall whistleblower told The Sun it was “shocking that Mr Hancock was having an affair in the middle of a pandemic with an adviser and friend he used public money to hire”.
Last night, a friend of the Health Secretary said: “He has no comment on personal matters. No rules have been broken.”
Mr Hancock was pictured embracing his aide. The image was from just after 3pm on May 6 — as the rest of Westminster was engrossed by the local elections.
He is seen in his distinctive ninth-floor office inside the sprawling Department of Health building, which is a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament.
During the pandemic, the office has provided the backdrop to his Zoom appearances on TV — including the Andrew Marr Show.
Mr Hancock is seen checking the corridor is clear before closing the door and then leaning on it to ensure he cannot be disturbed.
Ms Coladangelo then walks towards him and the pair begin their passionate embrace.
According to a whistleblower, who used to work at the department, the pair have regularly been caught in clinches together.
The source said: “They have tried to keep it a secret but everyone knows what goes on inside a building like that."
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