Gina Coladangelo's job …and how the Tories broke a promise

ANNA MIKHAILOVA: Gina Coladangelo’s job …and how the Tories broke a promise

  • Senior officials are questioning how Gina Coladangelo’s role was ever signed off
  • Government missed deadline to select new Public Appointments Commissioner 
  • This is the regulator in charge of handling precisely these sorts of complaints
  • This means a pledge to change the commissioner every five years has been broken for the first time since the office was set up in 1995 

Since Matt Hancock was pictured taking a hands-on approach to public appointments, senior officials have said they had been ‘struggling to understand’ why Gina Coladangelo lingered in their meetings – and presumably why Hancock’s aftershave lingered on her.

They questioned how her role as non-executive director – which she quit last night – of the department was ever signed off.

Now I can reveal the Government missed its deadline to select a new Public Appointments Commissioner, the regulator in charge of handling precisely these sorts of complaints.

Since Matt Hancock (right) was pictured taking a hands-on approach to public appointments, senior officials have said they had been ‘struggling to understand’ why Gina Coladangelo (left) lingered in their meetings

This means a pledge to change the commissioner every five years has been broken for the first time since the office was set up in 1995.

Peter Riddell was meant to step down in April and even gave a ‘valedictory’ leaving speech – before Michael Gove and Boris Johnson quietly asked him to stay on another five months because they haven’t got round to picking his successor.

It follows a pattern – Johnson was more than happy to take his time finding a new ethics adviser after Sir Alex Allan quit last year, leaving the post vacant for months.

Riddell, who has been a good sport and stayed on for now, warned that having public appointments commissioners in post for more than five years threatens their ‘independence’.

The delay also prompted a furious response from William Wragg, the Tory MP who chairs the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

Writing to Gove, Wragg pointed out the £56,000-a-year job was advertised last November and that Government Guidance says the process of filling it should take ‘no longer than three months’.


Left: Pictured: Footage showing Matt Hancock kissing Gina Coladangelo in his ministerial office in a breach of coronavirus restrictions. Peter Riddell (right) was meant to step down in April as Public Appointments Commissioner and even gave a ‘valedictory’ leaving speech – before Michael Gove and Boris Johnson quietly asked him to stay on another five months because they haven’t got round to picking his successor

He has raised further concerns that the ‘very important’ regulatory role, formally appointed by the Queen, ‘may remain unfilled’.

Meanwhile, Riddell has warned of the ‘growth in the number of unregulated appointments by Ministers’ and the ‘lack of transparency and clarity’ on who even holds these jobs and how they got them. 

Wragg has tried setting his own deadline, demanding the Government announce its preferred candidate by July 8 to give MPs time for scrutiny. No luck yet.

Surely there’s someone Hancock went to Oxford with, or who poured him a pint one time, who can step up to the task?

Bill’s barking up the wrong tree

New laws recognising ‘animal sentience’ have left MPs scratching their heads.

Bill Wiggin messaged Ministers to ask whether, if his dog chased a squirrel or pigeon in the park, ‘squirrel rights’ would make it an offence?

He was told that no, Government policy-making hasn’t yet extended to dogs chasing pigeons. Too busy micro-managing every other aspect of our lives?   

New laws recognising ‘animal sentience’ have left MPs scratching their heads (file photo)

Parliament’s standards commissioner has found Rehman Chishti guilty of breaking the MPs’ code of conduct after lobbying for a planning application made by one of his donors

Parliament’s standards commissioner has found Rehman Chishti guilty of breaking the MPs’ code of conduct after lobbying for a planning application made by one of his donors.

As The Mail on Sunday revealed last week, the former vice-chairman of the Tory Party failed to properly declare he’d received the donations in letters of support to council planners for a housing development in his Kent constituency.

Now he’s apologised and admitted he also failed to declare his ‘personal friendship’ with the developer, who he plays tennis with.

Chishti was adamant, however, that none of their matches involved discussing the planning application to build homes on the site of… an old tennis club.

Michael Fabricant seems determined to make sure he never loses his title of ‘back-bencher for life’ by mercilessly poking fun at his leaders. 

Last Sunday, he posted a message on the Tory WhatsApp group: ‘Royal Mail this morning delivering Father’s Day cards to 10 Downing Street.’ It was accompanied by a photo of four delivery lorries…

Michael Fabricant seems determined to make sure he never loses his title of ‘back-bencher for life’ by mercilessly poking fun at his leaders

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