Matt Hancock pleads for forgiveness from public over affair which breached Covid guidance
Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has appealed for forgiveness over breaching Covid guidelines during an affair with his aide, as he opened up about the abuse that has since been aimed at him.
The 44-year-old admitted his decision to flaunt the social distancing guidance he had helped to set was a "failure of leadership".
The breach eventually forced Mr Hancock to quit his cabinet post, and effectively signalled the end of his career in frontline politics.
He has since taken part in ITV1's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, which caused controversy by participating while Parliament was sitting. The move saw him kicked out of the Tory Party and branded "disgraceful" by his own constituents.
But in an interview with the Daily Mail, which has bought the rights to serialise Mr Hancock's diaries, the West Suffolk MP said he wanted the public to forgive him.
"I want forgiveness for the mistake, the failure of leadership, at the end of the pandemic when I fell in love with Gina and I broke the guidance that I signed off," he said.
"That was a failure of leadership and obviously something that almost everybody in the country has an opinion about.
"I'm not asking for forgiveness for how I handled the pandemic because I know that I did my best every single day during the pandemic, but I do regret the failure of leadership at the end."
He also spoke about the "horrific" abuse he had received since his decision to go into the Australian jungle on the show.
Mr Hancock had previously defended his decision to enter the jungle by saying he wanted to find new ways to engage with the public.
Speaking to journalist and fellow campmate Charlene White on his first day, he said he wanted to take part as "there's so few ways in which politicians can show that we’re human beings, so I just thought it would be good to do that".
Mr Hancock will also appear on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins in 2023, a Channel 4 show for which he was paid £45,000.
He was back in his day job on Friday, as he presented his Dyslexia Screening and Teacher Training Bill.
Making his first speech since returning from Australia, he joked he was pleased to be "clean and well-fed" as he addressed MPs in the Commons.
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