We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘political theatre’ but West Suffolk MP and former health secretary Matt Hancock took the meaning to new heights as he joined ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! TV show. Hancock said, however, he “does not expect to serve in Government again” after participating but that he had also received a lot of support to appear on the reality show and considered it a solid way of connecting with a younger audience.
He stressed that he could be contacted at any time to handle “urgent constituency matters” ; however being 10,000 miles away in an Australian jungle, many critics have taken issue with this claim. So why is Matt Hancock going into the jungle and what’s the story behind his political controversy? Here’s what to know.
Why is Matt Hancock going into the jungle?
After announcing that he would join I’m A Celebrity, Matt Hancock had his Conservative Party whip removed. Speaking as to why he made the decision, he said: “I don’t expect to serve in Government again but there are lots of ways you can communicate and engage with people.
“When I got approached to take part, I did think long and hard about it but one of the reasons that I felt able to say yes was because the IAC team have put in place a system so I can be reached at any point on any urgent constituency matters.
“Lots of people have a view on me from being health secretary in the pandemic dealing with some very difficult issues, but that’s not the whole story.
“I am looking forward to throwing myself into it all like I do everything in life. You can’t hide anything in the jungle, you see somebody warts and all.”
Is Matt Hancock still an MP?
According to a report by The Sun, as of November 1, 2022, Matt Hancock has been suspended from the Conservative Party. Following his decision to join the cast of the ITV reality show he has been suspended from the party whip - a disciplinary move in parliament which means he has been removed from the Conservative Party but remains as an MP.
Chief Whip Simon Hart said: "Following a conversation with Matt Hancock, I have considered the situation and believe this is a matter serious enough to warrant suspension of the whip with immediate effect."
When will Matt Hancock enter the jungle?
Matt Hancock along with English comedian Seann Walsh enter the jungle on Wednesday, November 9, but first they will complete a Bushtucker trial. ITV bosses changed the schedule for the 44-year-old former health minister earlier than intended after Olivia Attwood was forced to quit the show this week after health concerns.
Why is Matt Hancock not health secretary?
Seann Walsh’s entry to the jungle as well as Olivia Attwood’s exit has arguably been overshadowed by Matt Hancock due to his controversies as a politician. Hancock was under fire in June 2021 when he was forced to resign as health secretary after The Sun published CCTV images of him kissing and embracing his aide Gina Goladangelo in his Whitehall office in May - this was in violation of his own Covid-19 social distancing regulations.
While going through Instagram comments sent to them on the show, host Dec Donnely shared a joke “Is Matt bringing his secretary? Haha, I don’t think so.
"Not in camp but in the jungle. They are somewhere in there already and have been given a task.”