After I'm a Celebrity, Matt Hancock is now feeding us wombat’s nether regions and it’s got to stop – Aidan Smith

The last time I wrote about Matt Hancock on these pages, I thought it would be over quite quickly.

Matt Hancock may be asking for forgiveness but not 'for how I handled the pandemic' (Picture: House of Commons/PA)
Matt Hancock may be asking for forgiveness but not 'for how I handled the pandemic' (Picture: House of Commons/PA)

He would be subjected to a few moments of ghastliness where he’d be forced to eat dingo’s eyes, wombat’s anus and maybe the odd kangaroo testicle. But then the casual sadists who watch I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! would have had their fill, got bored of the disgraced former Health Secretary’s simpering grin and booted him off the show.

He would have returned home where, having already been booted from the Conservative Party – the whip’s been removed – he would then be booted out of his constituency. And that might have been the last we would have heard of Matthew John David Hancock until the Covid inquiry into how the government made such a wombat’s anus of the pandemic.

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But look what happened! You kept him in the jungle right to the end! What were you thinking? Maybe it was this: “Everyone expects us to vote him off so, to trash the theory that we’re bovine, unthinking dolts, he can stay.” If so then in a way it was admirable. But also high-risk. He could have won!

He kind of did anyway. There was his £400,000 fee, one of the highest ever offered to a participant on the show. Then the spin-off booty with predictions of £2 million worth of endorsements being on offer because apparently TV executives are “lining up” to exploit his “public resurgence”. And don’t forget the book.

Serialisation of his pandemic diaries began right after the I’m a Celebrity wrap party when he dad-danced in classic 1960s white trainers, sparking the headline “Has Hancock killed the Stan Smiths trend?”

For three weeks we couldn’t get him off our TV screens. Now we can’t get him out of the papers. Not so much a PR campaign as a tyranny, its message is clear: you will – you must – see him for what he is: a regular guy. A regular guy who had a tough job to do. A regular guy who did his best but in the end cocked up.

So are we ready to accept all of this? Happy to mention Hancock’s name alongside wombat’s anuses in the hope it engenders a snigger – and I accept I’ve just done this very thing – because, as we see, he’s hail-fellow-well-Matt, a goofball, a good laugh? And to regard it as frankly hilarious that the chump has ruined the retro appeal of some tennis shoes, and now presumably there will be lots more comedy clangers as he ponders his options for a possible new life in light entertainment?

Is he, for instance, being lined up for the Christmas Day edition of Blankety Blank where he’ll be sat in one of bottom-row boxes and up above some D-lister will drop a live toad onto his bald spot, replicating the I’m a Celebrity money-shot from the final bushtucker trial? Do you want to see this or are you still appalled that he went into the jungle? I reckon for a few of you it will be the latter.

Appalled that, when he got confessional round the campfire and revealed that “what I’m really looking for is a bit of forgiveness”, he was talking about his breach of his own Covid guidelines in his affair with aide Gina Coladangelo – not the job he did as Health Secretary. Appalled that, lest there by any doubt, and in case you might have wondered if the outback privations might have made him delirious, he’s reaffirmed this in his book. “I’m not asking for forgiveness for how I handled the pandemic,” he’s stated.

Maybe you cringed when he declined to mention his wife, and wondered what she and his three children made of the nightly malarkey on primetime television – never mind the rope-bridge reunion with Coladangelo, the whispered “I love you very much” and the hand snaking down to her bottom to reprise the CCTV footage which blew the cover for what he calls his “affaire de coeur”.

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Perhaps not even in France, though, where a politician is supposedly viewed as odd if he doesn’t keep a mistress, would such brazen behaviour, played out in front of millions, ever be attempted. Marriages break up, one of those involved goes off with someone else, it happens all the time – but is Hancock really that cruel, or just a clown?

Then there are those diaries. It is not unusual for a politician to keep them, though less and less now, but what does it say about this man, and either his ego or nervousness, that he has chosen to publish his account now? And what does it say about the diaries that they involve a collaborator?

Since the day the inquiry was confirmed every other government minister or spokesperson, from the Prime Minister down, has deferred to it, hid behind it, insisted the country should wait for it before passing judgement. Not Hancock who is currently blaming others for the mistakes of needless care-home deaths and dodgy PPE contracts. Whether he’s panicking or being pompous – or maybe a weird combination of both – the diaries, and therefore the Covid tragedy, will make him yet more money.

Until that toad plonked itself on the toadying Tory, the most ridiculous image of Hancock had been his fake crying on Good Morning Britain as vaccinations began. The show replayed it yesterday accompanied by his account from the book of him “losing it altogether… blubbing away… tears streaming down my face”.

Honestly, this excuse for a politician is feeding us wombat’s anus every day? How much more of it can we take?

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