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Latest 21 April 2023

Met refuses to investigate apparent Covid breaches by Matt Hancock

Ian Davidson / Alamy Live News

The Metropolitan Police Service (the Met) has confirmed it will not open an investigation into apparent breaches of the coronavirus regulations by Matt Hancock MP and Gina Coladangelo in May 2021.

In a letter sent earlier this year, we highlighted a potential violation of England’s indoor gathering restrictions by the former Health Secretary and Ms Coladangelo, and asked the Met to confirm an investigation has been opened. The Met has now told us that “an investigation will not be commenced”.

On June 25, 2021, The Sun published an image of Mr Hancock embracing his aide Ms Coladangelo, reporting that they were in a relationship. Mr Hancock resigned as Health Secretary the following day, stating that he had breached guidelines on social distancing, but has consistently denied breaching the law on indoor gatherings.

On May 6, 2021 – the date the photo is said to have been taken – England was at Step 2 of Covid restrictions, meaning indoor gatherings with people outside of your household were prohibited, unless certain exceptions applied.

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As Health Secretary, Mr Hancock was instrumental in drafting this legislation. Yet when he was asked to confirm that England was subject to Step 2 lockdown rules on May 6 in a Good Morning Britain interview, he stated: “I’m not sure that’s the case.” In fact, Hancock claimed that Step 2 restrictions were “lifted in April”. This is not correct.

When the story was published in The Sun, 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.”

That 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. We were also able to reveal the Met’s previously unpublished COVID Retrospective Enforcement Principles.

In our February 2023 letter, we argued that there is a strong case to open an investigation into Mr Hancock’s actions. We believe the case satisfies the retrospective investigation principles given that, among other things, he knew or should have known he was breaching the laws and the Met’s failure to investigate would undermine the public’s faith in the rule of law. 

Despite this, the Met has now stated that the incident does not meet these criteria and it will not open an investigation.

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