Matt Hancock is embroiled in row with Dragons’ Den star Steven Bartlett over ‘casual sex’ podcast stitch-up
- Matt Hancock protested when Steven Bartlett mentioned ‘casual sex’ while questioning him after his extra-marital affair with Gina Coladangelo last year
- The former Health Secretary insisted that he ‘fell in love’ with Ms Coladangelo
- It’s understood that Mr Hancock feels ‘stitched up’ by the question on the show
Matt Hancock is embroiled in a row with Dragons’ Den investor Steven Bartlett over an interview with the former Health Secretary, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
During the two-hour interview for a podcast last week, Mr Hancock protested when Mr Bartlett mentioned ‘casual sex’ while questioning him about his extra-marital affair with aide Gina Coladangelo – in breach of his own Covid restrictions.
Mr Hancock raised his hand and asked Mr Bartlett to ‘ask the question in a little bit more respectful way’. He added: ‘I have not had casual sex with anybody, I fell in love.’
During the two-hour interview for a podcast last week, Mr Hancock protested when Mr Bartlett mentioned ‘casual sex’ while questioning him about his extra-marital affair
Mr Hancock asked the host if could ‘start this section again’, and this newspaper understands that the MP also told Mr Bartlett ‘this is off’ – meaning off the record – as they discussed rephrasing the question to remove the reference to casual sex.
Mr Bartlett said: ‘OK, let me ask the question and we can crack the question, all right?’ He then continued the interview.
Mr Hancock and his aides thought the brief exchange would be cut and were horrified to discover it had been left in when the podcast was posted online last week. But Mr Hancock’s words ‘this is off’ were not included.
The Mail on Sunday understands that Mr Hancock feels ‘stitched up’ and that he had agreed to do the interview with Mr Bartlett on the basis that nothing would be left in that he considered to be ‘hurtful’ to his estranged wife, Martha, or their three children.
A source said: ‘Matt didn’t mind answering the tough questions but not at the expense of his children or Martha. Matt doesn’t ever talk about his family as they didn’t ask to be in the public eye.
‘But unfortunately it fell on deaf ears.’
Mr Hancock, 43, was forced to step down from the Cabinet last June after CCTV images showed him in an embrace with his married lover Ms Coladangelo
It is understood that Mr Hancock’s team fired off a series of angry complaints to the producers of Mr Bartlett’s Diary Of A CEO podcast last week. Another bone of contention is that they believed Mr Bartlett had agreed to provide them with a full transcript of the final version before it went out, but say his team failed to do this.
Mr Hancock, 43, was forced to step down from the Cabinet last June after CCTV images showed him in an embrace with his married lover Ms Coladangelo, 44, inside the Department of Health at the height of the pandemic. Mr Bartlett, 29, joined BBC1’s Dragons’ Den this year and is the youngest ever Dragon.
Last night, a spokesman for Mr Hancock said: ‘Matt really enjoyed speaking with Steven. The podcast speaks for itself and is worth a listen. We have no comment on the process – there are much more important things going on in the world.’
Mr Bartlett did not respond to a request for a comment.