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Latest 20 February 2023

Good Law Project threatens action against Met for refusing to investigate Matt Hancock

Ian Davidson / Alamy Live News

Good Law Project has written to the Metropolitan Police Service asking it to investigate apparent breaches of the coronavirus regulations by Matt Hancock and Gina Coladangelo.

We believe the Metropolitan Police’s policies dictate that an investigation must now be opened following Mr Hancock’s disclosure of the date of his clinch with his then colleague and lover, Ms Coladangelo. 

On June 25 2021, The Sun published an image of Hancock embracing his aide Ms Coladangelo, reporting that they were in a relationship. 

The following day, the then-Health Secretary submitted his resignation to the Prime Minister, stating that he had breached guidance on social distancing. He has, however, consistently denied breaching the law on indoor gatherings.

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But in a Good Morning Britain (GMB) interview just a few weeks ago, Mr Hancock confirmed that the photograph published in The Sun was taken on May 6, 2021. He maintained in the interview: “I broke the guidelines. But I didn’t break the law.”

On May 6, England was subject to “Step 2” restrictions, meaning indoor gatherings with people outside of your household were prohibited, unless certain exceptions applied. Any person who participated in a prohibited gathering had committed an offence. None of the exceptions appear to have applied to Mr Hancock and Ms Coladangelo.

In the GMB interview on January 31, 2023, Hancock claimed that “Step 2” restrictions were “lifted in April”. This is not correct.

When The Sun published its story in 2021, the Met confirmed it would not be investigating any potential breach, stating: “As a matter of course the Met is not investigating Covid-related issues retrospectively.”

The same alleged policy was used to justify the Met’s refusal to investigate Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak’s breach of lockdown rules – which was challenged by Good Law Project, and subsequently reversed.

Good Law Project considers that there is a strong case for the Met to investigate Mr Hancock’s breach. He was instrumental in drafting the regulations and therefore knew or should have known that he was breaching them; the Met’s failure to investigate would undermine the public’s faith in the rule of law; and Mr Hancock seems to accept there is no defence – his only defence seems to be his apparent ignorance of his own laws.

We believe that the ongoing failure by the Met is unlawful in public law terms.

We have therefore asked the Met to confirm within seven days that an investigation into potential breaches by Mr Hancock and Ms Coladangelo has now been opened.

The Met has acknowledged receipt of our request for information and we are now awaiting a response. We will consider legal action if we do not receive a sufficient response within a reasonable timeframe.

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