MATT Hancock has apologised for the kissing scandal which led to his removal from government – but denied allegations of wrongdoing over his former pub landlord’s bumper Covid contract.

The former UK health secretary says his romantic embrace with his aide Gina Coladangelo, which was captured on CCTV in his departmental office, has "blown up every part of my life”.

The Tory MP, who did not immediately resign when the story broke in June, spoke about the kissing scandal on ITV’s Peston show.

He was also told he was talking "a load of rubbish” after denying involvement in his friend's lucrative public deal during the early stages of the pandemic.

Asked about his resignation, Hancock said: "As you can imagine, the first thing that I focused on was my personal life and when I focused on my professional responsibility I decided that I had to resign."

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He continued: "I'd blown up every part of my life. I concentrated on my personal life first as you can probably imagine ... I made the decision.

"It was clearly the right decision. I just say sorry again for the failure. I let a lot of people down. I'm sorry to the people that I hurt."

The backbencher also came under scrutiny over questions about his involvement in helping his friend, the former landlord of his local pub, to obtain a £40 million contract to supply test tubes for NHS Covid-19 testing.

The Mail on Sunday, following a contested Freedom of Information request, obtained messages between Hancock and Alex Bourne in which he personally referred a plea for business to Jonathan Marron, at the time the director-general of community and social care at the Department of Health.

A message from Bourne, who runs a food packaging company, initially raised the possibility of making personal protective equipment (PPE) such as surgical facemasks, before later exchanges reveal a switch to producing items involved in coronavirus testing.

Bourne said his firm had signed a contract with an approved NHS distributor rather than directly with the Government and added: “This idea that I am chummy with [Hancock] is not true.”

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Hancock told Peston: "I've absolutely no idea because I didn't have anything at all to do with that contract.

"And more importantly, the gentleman in question and his company didn't get a contract with the department or the NHS. They were a subcontractor and therefore they didn't have a contractual arrangement with the department ... I have been told, through the media and outlets, that somehow there has been some great scandal here, and it's just not true.

"I had nothing to do with this contract, and there isn't a contract between my constituent and the department. He was a subcontractor.”

However, Labour MP Jess Phillips branded Hancock’s explanation “a load of rubbish”.

She told Peston: “Did anyone else’s friends get a contract?

“Mine didn’t, none of my friends are on those lists.”

She continued: “There were PPE providers in my constituency that had lorries driving in from Italy to take it when I was trying to get through on those lines that were given to Members of Parliament and so I watched lorries take personal protective equipment in lorries out of my constituency while my care homes were ringing me asking if I could go to the local school to borrow goggles.”

The Birmingham Yardley MP added: “I was having endless phone calls, we were having those phone calls with the Cabinet Office.

“It’s funny because they were already a provider. However, some people’s friends, who weren’t providers, somehow managed to get through the line.”