Politics

Matt Hancock begs for forgiveness over ‘affair of the heart’

Matt Hancock mocked by deputy speaker over I'm A Celeb

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Matt Hancock has begged for forgiveness over the “affair of the heart” that eventually cost him his marriage and job as Health Secretary. Mr Hancock, 44, resigned in 2021 after newspapers published pictures of him embracing his now partner Gina Coladangelo captured on CCTV. The disgraced MP for West Suffolk has undergone a media blitz that saw him come third in I’m a Celebrity last week, where he first begged for forgiveness.

Speaking to his other campmates during the show, he said he found handling fallout from the affair “really tough”.

He added that he had “messed up and I fessed up” when he resigned, despite the “mess up” coming on May 5, 2021, and his “fess up” following the month after when the Sun published the pictures on June 25.

Mr Hancock reiterated his plea to the Daily Mail again this weekend while admitting he was caught during a “failure of leadership”.

He said that while he took “responsibility” for the damage done, he wanted people to forgive him for what he called a “human error”.

He broke the guidelines when he “fell in love with Gina”, but accepted this was not an excuse.

The MP said: “The forgiveness I seek is that, right at the end of the pandemic, I went against the guidance I’d signed off for reasons many people will understand but are not an excuse.

“It was a failure of leadership. I don’t seek forgiveness for falling in love with Gina because I love her very deeply.”

Mr Hancock did not seek forgiveness for his Covid policies, which he helmed for more than a year between 2020 and 2021.

He told the Mail he “woke up every single morning determined to do the very best” for 18 months.

Many Britons, who were doing the same while following Covid rules, have proven unwilling to forgive.

One man, appearing on BBC Question Time, said some were “too quick to forgive”.

He said: “I think it’s wrong that people are so quick to change their minds on him.”

He added: “People’s grandmothers, grandfathers, aunties, uncles that were forced back into care homes. All these deaths that we couldn’t go to.”

One Twitter user Krissy said that while Mr Hancock “came across very well” on I’m a Celebrity, she couldn’t forgive his political decisions.

She said: “What you have done within your career as a politician has been unforgivable, I, for one, will never ever forgive you.”

His appearance on the jungle-based reality show may have cost him his political career, with fellow MPs calling for him to stand down.

The Conservative Party’s vice chair has said Mr Hancock, who had the whip withdrawn after booking his slot on the programme, should not be reinstated.

Nickie Aiken told the BBC “no” when asked if the party should let him serve once more from the backbenches.

She added that he “maybe thinking about not coming back after the next election”, given his appearance in the jungle.

Conservative MPs have until December 5 to decide whether they will stand again.

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