A Norfolk MP has defended Matt Hancock after he was caught kissing a close aide in breach of coronavirus restrictions.
Pressure is mounting on the health secretary to resign after a video of Mr Hancock in an embrace with Gina Coladangelo was published on Friday night.
But South West Norfolk MP and secretary of state for international trade Liz Truss said Mr Hancock “hasn’t broken any rules.”
During a visit to a fruit farm in Lincolnshire on Friday, Ms Truss also described it as a “personal matter” before going on to say Mr Hancock has her support in the Cabinet.
Labour has urged prime minister Boris Johnson to sack Mr Hancock, however, describing his position as “untenable”.
Mr Johnson has so far resisted calls to sack Mr Hancock, who said he was “very sorry” for letting people down after The Sun first reported he was having an extramarital affair.
You may also want to watch:
The Sun reported that its pictures of Mr Hancock and Ms Coladangelo, who are both married with three children, had been taken inside the Department of Health on May 6.
Social distancing at work is not a legal requirement, but the government recommends people keep two metres apart where possible, or one metre with “risk mitigation” such as wearing face masks.
In a statement, Mr Hancock said: “I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances, I have let people down and am very sorry.
“I remain focused on working to get the country out of this pandemic, and would be grateful for privacy for my family on this personal matter.”
A Downing Street spokesman said Mr Johnson had accepted Mr Hancock’s apology and “considers the matter closed”.
Ms Coladangelo, who is married to the founder of the retailer Oliver Bonas, Oliver Tress, is a friend of Mr Hancock’s from their days together at Oxford University and was appointed to the Department of Health and Social Care [DHSC] last year.
She was initially taken on as an unpaid adviser on a six-month contract in March 2020, before being appointed as a non-executive director at the department.
We are contacting all our local MPs for their views.