Matt Hancock ‘assaulted on London Underground’ as man arrested

Man, 61, in police custody on suspicion of common assault against former health secretary on Tube

Jane Dalton
Wednesday 25 January 2023 23:20 GMT
Matt Hancock harassed on London Underground as man arrested

A man has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting former health secretary Matt Hancock on the London Underground.

A 61-year-old man is in custody, on suspicion of common assault and a public order offence, after an incident at Westminster Underground station, British Transport Police said. It happened on Tuesday morning, but details have only just been released.

Footage posted to social media shows a member of the Tube staff walking with Mr Hancock along a platform and getting on a Tube train, then pleading with a man to stop following them and making accusations.

At one point, the MP for West Suffolk, who was unhurt in the incident, tells the employee that he appreciates her walking with him.

She also accompanies him during the Tube journey while a man is heard continuing his accusations and using foul language.

A spokesman for Mr Hancock said the encounter with the man was “unpleasant”, adding: “Both Transport for London (TfL) staff and the British Transport Police were fantastic and the man has since been arrested.

“This sort of behaviour is a rare occurrence,” and stressed the “importance of shutting down baseless misinformation which causes so much harm”.

“Matt wants to put on record his thanks to TfL and the British Transport Police for their extraordinary work,” the spokesman added.

The former minister prompted anger when he appeared on ‘I’m a Celebrity’

British Transport Police said: “We received a report of a man being assaulted and harassed at Westminster Underground station at 8.47am yesterday morning (January 24).

“A 61-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of common assault and a public order offence and remains in custody. Enquiries into the incident are ongoing.”

After leaving office in June 2021, Mr Hancock faced criticism over shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the NHS in the early stages of the pandemic, the award of contracts to supply masks and the decision to move elderly patients into care homes without Covid testing to free up hospital beds.

High Court judges ruled last April that discharging patients who had had the coronavirus to care homes without testing them was unlawful.

The minister quit as health secretary after being caught breaching Covid lockdown rules by having an affair with aide Gina Coladangelo.

Mr Hancock returned to parliament after I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

He left his wife when photographs of the pair embracing were published in The Sun.

His spokesman said most interactions on the Tube and in public were “really friendly” and most people approaching the MP wanted to take selfies.

But the former minister also prompted outrage when he decided to be absent from his constituency to appear on reality show I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! last year.

He said last month he would not stand as an MP at the next election and would instead find “new ways to reach people” who were disengaged with politics.

Mr Hancock previously announced he would not stand as an MP at the next election

After making it to the final three contestants, he said he would give up his seat at the next election, saying he realised there were different ways to “reach people” other than representing them in parliament.

The programme was one of the most complained-about of last year, when viewers objected to the inclusion of Mr Hancock in the series.

He lost the whip over his decision to appear on the show without seeing his party’s permission, and Parliament’s anti-corruption watchdog ruled that he broke government rules by not consulting it beforehand.

His local Tory association chairman wrote to the party’s chief whip Simon Hart to say the group had decided he was “not fit to represent this constituency”.

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