The disgraced former health secretary sparked outrage when he signed up to the ITV show, both for doing the contest as an elected MP while Parliament is sitting, and with accusations of insensitivity to those bereaved by COVID.
Read more: All the campmates in I'm A Celebrity 2022
In Friday's episode, his campmates finally began grilling him over his pandemic actions, which included a disastrous care home policy and breaking his own social distancing rules by having an affair with his aide.
— I'm A Celebrity... (@imacelebrity) November 11, 2022
Hancock again offered the explanation "I fell in love", but Charlene White told him: "My aunt died from COVID in the first wave. So, we couldn’t go to the hospital to go and visit her. I had to sit by myself in the church at her funeral. We couldn’t hug each other because we were following guidance.
"And I get that you fell in love, I understand all of those things, but 'sorry' for a lot of families like mine doesn’t really cut it.”
Later, Hancock changed tack and looked tearful as he claimed: "Do you know what it is actually, what I’m really looking for is a bit of forgiveness, that’s what I’m really looking for.”
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So far, Hancock's jungle stay has included eating sheep vagina and camel penis, being sprayed with slurry, and dancing to 'Sweet Caroline' with his fellow celebrity campers.
The plea for forgiveness infuriated many viewers, with actor Reece Dinsdale tweeting: "‘What I’m really looking for is a bit of forgiveness’ @MattHancock on #ImACeleb This offends me in itself. But what REALLY boils my p*** is the spineless ‘celebrity’ reaction of ‘We must draw a line under this now’. Seriously? SERIOUSLY!!!"
Some of the other contestants were shown hugging Hancock as he appeared to hold back tears.
Another viewer tweeted: "F@ck of Matt, you’ll never get my forgiveness, you dumped my mum into a care home, here in your constituency, I never saw her, never got to tell her I loved her and the most heartbreaking I never got to say goodbye, 5 spaced out at her funeral, couldn’t even sit near Dad#ImACeleb"
Someone else added: "Matt Hancock wanting forgiveness… but still skipping out on his £84k tax payer funded job for a £400k cheque based on his ‘celebrity’ from a pandemic that killed thousands after which he has penned and promoted and expose book?"
Another person wrote: "if you really think matt hancock deserves forgiveness then you obviously have no idea how those who lost their loved ones truly feel"
Viewers could not believe what they were hearing from the politician or that the other contestants believed him, with one person tweeting: "Forgiveness?!? For what?! For letting people die alone, whilst their families only wish they could hug them one last time?! Don’t hold your breath Matt."
Someone else commented: "Its quite frankly disgusting that Matt Hancock has the nerve to go on a show like this and ask for forgiveness. He doesn’t even have the decency to disappear from public view, and if you’re stupid enough to be taken in by his crocodile tears then more fool you."
Another person, commenting on his previous campfire chat about how politicians deflect difficult questions, wrote: "Only Matt Hancock could say “I just want forgiveness” and “This is how politicians avoid questions” in the same breath. Tw*t."
Radio DJ and former Made In Chelsea star Ashley James tweeted: "'I fell in love.' Matt Hancock. Tell that to all us women forced to give birth alone. One of my friends was forced to do it with a mask on! Tell that to my friends who lived alone and were crippled with loneliness. To those who couldn't say goodbye to loved ones at funerals.
— I'm A Celebrity... (@imacelebrity) November 11, 2022
"What Matt Hancock fails to grasp in his quest fir us to see him as a nice 'human' guy, is that we don't like him because he failed us and expected great sacrifice from us whilst he didn't follow his own rules. 'I fell in love' isn't an excuse that's going to make us forgive him."
The only campmate who still appeared angry and dubious about the apology was Chris Moyles, who later ranted to Scarlette Douglas: "Forgiveness for what Matt? What are you sorry for? Are you sorry for being caught? Are you sorry for having an affair? Are you sorry for making bad decisions? Are you sorry for lying? What? What?"
One viewer tweeted: "chris moyles is the smartest one in there right now, not falling for matt hancock’s act to try and get everyone to forgive him. what the country needs is forgiveness in the form of ACTIONS, not empty words on a reality tv show when he should be serving his constituents."
— Chris Moyles (@ChrisMoyles) November 11, 2022
Someone else added: "the forgiveness of matt hancock is one of the worst things i’ve ever witnessed on tv SPEAK UP CHRIS"
Others reminded viewers that Hancock originally claimed he was going on the show to raise awareness of dyslexia - which he has not mentioned yet.
One person tweeted: "Matt Hancock’s here for forgiveness? I thought he was here to raise awareness of dyslexia."
Comedian Dom Joly, referring to his eating trial, wrote: “And suddenly there I was, live on national TV, in front of Boy George and an aghast nation, munching on a camel’s penis. Finally they would all understand the trauma of dyslexia…”
I'm A Celebrity continues tonight at 9pm on ITV.
Watch: 'Sorry doesn't cut it': Campmates grill Matt Hancock over COVID actions