The former health secretary’s behaviour was an issue on the doorstep in the Batley and Spen by-election, the Tory Party co-chair has admitted.
It follows Matt Hancock’s resignation after CCTV footage was leaked to the press, in which he was kissing a close aide in breach of his own social distancing rules.
Although prime minister Boris Johnson accepted his apology straight away and insisted the matter was closed, Tory MPs added to public pressure on Hancock to quit,
“It was something that came up”
Amanda Milling, Tory Party co-chair, admitted his behaviour affected the final stages of their campaign for yesterday’s by-election.
She told Sky News: “It was something that came up on the doorstep, I have to be honest about that. They (voters) had some issues over the weekend in terms of what happened.
“I know the public will be incredibly frustrated because at the end of the day we have all made a huge number of sacrifices. But Matt did the right thing by resigning. The matter is now closed.”
The Tories were 400 votes away from winning in Batley and Spen, which Milling labelled a “tremendous result” for the Tories to get so close in a constituency which Labour held with a 3,525 majority at the 2019 general election.
She said: “It was a very, very close result. This is not a great win for the Labour Party. They have only won by a matter of just over 300 votes.
“Governing parties don’t gain by-elections and actually taking it to such a small number of votes is in itself a tremendous result.”
She insisted Johnson is still very popular among voters: “There is a lot of love for the Prime Minister. He gets a tremendous lot of support on the doorstep.”
Labour is continuing to search for answers regarding whether Hancock followed appropriate procedures when he appointed the aide he had an affair with.
Gina Coladangelo was part of the board of the Department of Health and Social Care for £15,000-a-year for just 15 days of work.
She has since also resigned from the department.
Earlier today, Labour leader Keir Starmer hailed a “fantastic result” as Labour held Batley and Spen.
Kim Leadbeater won the West Yorkshire seat with a majority of only 323.
She said she was “absolutely delighted that the people of Batley and Spen have rejected division and they voted for hope”.
Leadbeater is the sister of murdered MP Jo Cox.
Jo Cox’s husband, Brendan Cox, said “the people of Batley and Spen have voted for decency and positivity once again.”