HEALTH Secretary Matt Hancock was “very sorry” after pictures surfaced showing him in a tight clinch with his aide, and he said: “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.”

This cannot be true. Firstly, the CCTV footage acquired by The Sun shows him not focussed on the pandemic but attempting to engineer a furtive few moments with Gina Coladangelo, and, secondly, he has exploded a bombshell amid his family – a wife of 15 years who is the mother of his three children. His focus is bound to be on sorting out the mess of his private life.

And it is his private life, and it is a personal matter, but there is no escaping the fact that he appointed Ms Coladangelo to a public office – paid £15,000-a-year by the taxpayer – even though she had no obvious qualifications, a part from being Mr Hancock’s university friend. Now we know the private element of this, it looks even more questionable.

While Boris Johnson, a man not noted for his marital fidelity, is not going to sack Mr Hancock, the Health Secretary is a weakened figure. Having breached his own regulations, he will struggle to impose further restrictions after July 19 – even if they are needed.

And getting the country out of this pandemic is reliant on the public trusting their politicians – on travel bans, on vaccines – and Mr Hancock, who has been labelled "hopeless" by his own Prime Minister, has now shown himself to be very untrustworthy.