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Fresh texts reveal Matt Hancock discussed how Covid could ‘propel’ his career on day vir


By Emily Craig Senior Health Reporter For Mailonline and Stephen Matthews Health Editor For Mailonline Updated: 17:56 03 Mar 2023


  1. Matt Hancock pictured out for the first time since leak of his private WhatsApps 

  2. The ex-Health Secretary tweeted a photo of himself with MP Lucy Frazer



Matt Hancock was today pictured out and about for the first time since the leak of his private WhatsApps, which have given Brits an extraordinary glimpse of behind-the-scenes ministerial wrangling during Covid.

The disgraced ex-Health Secretary tweeted a photo of himself with MP Lucy Frazer, his political neighbour, after an ‘important meeting’ to discuss ‘sorting the traffic on junction 37 of the A14’.

It came hours before The Daily Telegraph’s latest revelation that Mr Hancock shared advice about how the pandemic could ‘propel’ his career ‘into the next league’ just two days before Britain recorded its first ever cases.


The message, written by an unnamed ‘wise friend’, claimed a ‘well-handed crisis of this scale could propel you into the next league and break you through in terms of public perception’.

Other bombshell texts today revealed Mr Hancock also praised his own appearance in a MailOnline story which showed him ‘covered in mud’ while carrying a rugby ball through a London park a day after then-PM Boris Johnson pleaded with the country to stay at home.

He told his advisor, who called the story ‘ludicrous’ and tried to downplay the video footage: ‘I think I look great!’ 

The disgraced ex-Health Secretary tweeted a photo of himself with MP Lucy Frazer, his political neighbour, after an ‘important meeting’ to discuss ‘sorting the traffic on junction 37 of the A14’


Matt Hancock was seen carrying a rugby ball through a North London park this afternoon the day after Boris Johnson pleaded with the nation to ‘stay at home this weekend’


On January 29, he forwarded a message to his media adviser Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, which Mr Hancock said was from a ‘wise friend’. It states that the former Health Secretary ‘has come over well so far’ and a ‘well handled crisis of this scale could propel you into the next league, and break you through in terms of public perception’. The person who sent him the message, who is not identified, encouraged Mr Hancock to consider how he wants his handling of the crisis to be remembered and how he will project these qualities


The latest messages show Mr Hancock was considering how the pandemic could help his career as early as January 2020.

On January 29, he forwarded a message to his media adviser Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, which Mr Hancock said was from a ‘wise friend’.

It states that the former Health Secretary ‘has come over well so far’, describing him as ‘calm, authoritative and honest’.

The unidentified sender encouraged Mr Hancock to consider how he wants his handling of the crisis to be remembered and how he will project these qualities.

In the message, Mr Hancock was encouraged to ‘show the PM you’re his ultra competent, non showboaty lieutenant’ and ‘show him you’re looking out for him, not you’.

Nigel Farage travelled to the US in June 2020, where he attended rallies for Donald Trump


The exchanges occurred two days before Britain logged its first cases, a 23-year-old University of York student and his 50-year-old mother, who arrived in the UK from China.

Further WhatsApp exchanges show that Mr Hancock’s standing with the public continued to be on his radar.

Emma Dean, one of the then-Health Secretary’s special advisers, sent him a link to a YouGov poll on December 29, which rates the most popular Conservative Poll.

Mr Hancock replied: ‘F*** that’s good’.

It’s unclear what the poll showed. But in January 2021, one month later, he ranked fourth, behind Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson and Theresa May.

In another text in January 2021, media special adviser Damon Poole told Mr Hancock that he had just received a call from MailOnline about footage of the former Health Secretary taking a walk in a London park.

The exclusive footage, taken on January 16, shows Mr Hancock ‘covered in mud’ while carrying a rugby ball through Queen’s Park in North London.

It was taken one day after the then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the public to ‘think twice’ before leaving the house and behave as if they have Covid.

Mr Poole said it was ‘ludicrous’ and suggested telling this website: ‘Matt was outside in line with the rules for exercise.’

Mr Hancock replied: ‘If you do need a line say “As you can see, Matt was outside for exercise”.’ He added: ‘I think I look great!’

By May 2021, he was advising his team to contact Gina Colangelo, his married aide who he was caught having an affair with just one month later, on his PR matters.

Footage obtained by The Sun in 2021 showed Mr Hancock and Ms Colangelo kissing, in breach of social distancing rules in place at the time.

Emma Dean, one of the then-Health Secretary’s special advisers, sent him a link to a YouGov poll on December 29, which rates the most popular Conservative Poll. Mr Hancock replied: ‘F*** that’s good’


In another text in January 2021, media special adviser Damon Poole told Mr Hancock that he had just received a call from MailOnline about footage of the former Health Secretary taking a walk in a London park


By May 2021, he was advising his team to contact Gina Colangelo, his married aide who he was caught having an affair with just one month later, on his PR matters


Mr Poole asked Mr Hancock if he had ‘said yes to photos of you surfing’. He replied: ‘Yes. Do you think no? Can you talk to Gina and decide. I get the risks’


Mr Poole asked Mr Hancock if he had ‘said yes to photos of you surfing’.

He replied: ‘Yes. Do you think no? Can you talk to Gina and decide. I get the risks.’

The Telegraph also reported that Mr Hancock managed ‘almost every post’ sent from his Twitter account.

In April 2020, when social care minister Helen Whately was trying to discuss PPE supplies to care homes, he sent her five messages.

For comparison, on the same day, he sent 72 messages to the team in charge of managing his Twitter account, according to the newspaper.

MailOnline has not seen or independently verified the WhatsApp messages, leaked by Isabel Oakeshott, the journalist who helped Mr Hancock write his book Pandemic Diaries. 

But texts show that he would edit tweets from his team and ‘clear’ them before they were shared.

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