Councillors in the racing town of Newmarket have passed a vote of no confidence in their local MP: Matt Hancock, the former health secretary.
Mayor of Newmarket Michael Jefferys, who is a member of the Labour Party, used his casting vote to pass the motion at a meeting of Newmarket Town Council this week, with five voting for, five against and four abstentions.
The passed resolution states that Hancock, the MP for West Suffolk, “neglected the best interests of his constituents” and, as health secretary, “demonstrated hypocrisy and hubris in the pursuit of his own interests”.
The Conservative MP resigned from the Cabinet last month after footage was published of him kissing an aide in his departmental office, in breach of coronavirus rules.
Jefferys said he has been “dismayed” at Hancock’s performance as an MP and as health secretary, adding: “For someone in such a responsible position to then behave in the way that he has is for me the last straw.”
West Suffolk Conservative Association said after Hancock’s resignation that it had received a “heartfelt apology” from him, and formally backed him to continue representing the constituency.
But one Tory councillor asked colleagues to deselect the MP if the “selfish, egotistical” former health secretary did not resign.
Ian Houlder wrote to the local party calling for Hancock’s deselection claiming that the scandal, showed him to be a “selfish, egotistical man”.
“His behaviour has been beyond the pale, his honour, integrity, probity and honesty, should he have had any, trashed beyond redemption,” he said.
“He has let every member of the public down, pontificating that they should all make huge sacrifices on the altar of the pandemic, whilst doing the complete opposite himself.”
Houlder, who sits on West Suffolk Council, also wrote directly to the MP to say: “If you have a shred of integrity or honour you would resign without delay. Do the residents of West Suffolk a favour and stand down.”
Matt and Gina
Hancock’s three-year tenure as health secretary came to an end after The Sun newspaper published stills of what appeared to be CCTV footage from inside his ministerial office of him kissing married aide Gina Coladangelo.
Coladangelo, a friend from Hancock’s days at Oxford University, was brought into DHSC as an unpaid adviser last year before being given the £15,000-a-year role of non-executive director in the department.
Legislation in place at the time said that “no person may participate in a gathering” that “consists of two or more people… and takes place indoors”.
An exception to this rule was that the gathering was “reasonably necessary for work purposes or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services”.