MATT Hancock has managed to squeeze a lifetime’s worth of humiliation into less than a week by agreeing to appear on I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here.

Even if you haven’t tuned in to the programme, you can probably guess how things are going for the former health secretary.

He has experienced hostility from some of his fellow campmates and faced questions over his actions during the coronavirus crisis.

Viewers of the show have also made their feelings about him pretty clear.

Since he entered the jungle last week, Matt Hancock has been selected to complete every one of the gruesome tasks the campmates have been set.

On Friday, that involved being pelted with custard, slime and feathers as he answered trivia questions from hosts Ant and Dec. He’s eaten a camel’s penis and a cow’s anus. It seems you can, in fact, put a price on dignity.

And yet, none of this is as entertaining as it should be. 

It’s not cathartic to watch him make a fool of himself. It feels too much, too soon after the pandemic.

Under questioning from the other campmates about the lockdown guidance breach that led to him standing down as health secretary, he asked for forgiveness.

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Some of the groups representing the Covid bereaved have criticised the show for giving Matt Hancock a platform to try to rehabilitate his brand.

Many are angry that this PR exercise is happening before the public inquiry into the UK Government’s handling of the pandemic has reached its conclusions.

This whole debate about Matt Hancock entering the jungle, and the reaction he’s faced since he’s been in there, shows beyond a doubt that the emotional trauma of the pandemic has not yet abated.

The hurt that the public feel over the widespread law-breaking that took place in Downing Street hasn’t gone away.

That anger that the rule-makers were serial rule-breakers remains.

Matt Hancock sought to defend his guidance-breaking clinch with his mistress by telling his campmates: “I fell in love.”

How self-involved do you have to be to allow a sentence like that to leave your lips?

It reminded me of the original Dominic Cummings defence (before the eyesight testing was used as mitigation) when we were told that he broke the rules because he loved his family.

Remember that? “He did what any loving father would do.”

It’s as though these people believe they were the only ones to experience feelings of love, fear and grief during the pandemic.

If love was a loophole to get out of restrictions during the Covid crisis, we’d all have had a sure-fire way to avoid following the rules.

“I fell in love” is so pathetically weak when compared to the sacrifices that the Covid bereaved had to make.

Matt Hancock wrote the rules that kept people apart from their dying loved ones.

But he couldn’t manage to adhere to them when faced with an opportunity to cheat on his wife? Give me a break.

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It’s clear that so many Conservative MPs still don’t get it.

Remember last month, when Boris Johnson was preparing to throw his hat in the ring to return as Prime Minister?

His allies were all over the TV arguing that he was well within his rights to make another bid for the top job and he shouldn’t be written off just because he had a piece of cake during lockdown.

That disconnect between what a core group of Tory MPs wanted and the disgust that the general public would feel at Johnson’s return was apparent then, as it is now.

It doesn’t matter how many times a Tory MP insists that ordinary people want to “move on” from partygate and its associated scandals – it doesn’t make it true.

There is still a sense of injustice at the lack of accountability of the people who held so much power during that awful time.

If they had actually followed the letter and spirit of the rules, as the overwhelming majority of ordinary people did, then they might understand why their refusal to do so cut so deeply.

So I’m not surprised that Matt Hancock is taking the brunt of the collective anger and grief of those in the jungle and those watching at home.

Some commentators are already moaning that he is being bullied by the campmates and viewers alike.

But he shouldn’t be there in the first place.

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He should be at work, helping his constituents navigate the cost of living crisis.

Matt Hancock was probably hoping that this appearance would be the start of a burgeoning TV career.

At the very least, he probably expected the public would soften in their opinion of him.

I doubt either of those things will happen. The best he can hope for is that he is voted out early so he can avoid even further humiliation.