Matt Hancock loses Tory whip after signing up for I'm a Celebrity

Matt Hancock has been suspended as a Tory MP after signing up for I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!

The former Health Secretary will be a late entrant alongside comedian Seann Walsh, less than 24 hours after pulling out of the race to chair the Treasury Select Committee.

Mr Hancock infamously resigned during the Covid pandemic after images emerged of him cheating on his wife.

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A political ally of the former health secretary claimed he signed up because he didn’t expect to return to cabinet.

Matt Hancock is reportedly going on I'm a Celeb.

They said the show’s producers have agreed with Mr Hancock, the MP for West Suffolk, that his constituents can communicate with him on “urgent” matters while he is in the jungle.

They said: “I’m A Celeb is the most watched show on TV.

“Matt doesn’t expect to serve in Government again, so it’s an incredible opportunity for him to engage with the 12 million Brits who tune in every single night.

“Matt has told the whips in Parliament and he will use his time in the jungle to promote his dyslexia campaign.

“Matt has an excellent team working with him in West Suffolk, but producers have agreed that he can communicate with them if there’s an urgent constituency matter.”

They said the West Suffolk MP will make a donation to St Nicholas Hospice in Suffolk, and declare the amount he receives from the show to Parliament.

“There are many ways to do the job of being an MP. Whether he’s in camp for one-day or three weeks, there are very few places people will be able to see a politician as they really are,” they said.

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“Where better to show the human side of those who make these decisions than with the most watched programme on TV?

“Politicians like Matt must go to where the people are – particularly those who are politically disengaged. Matt’s of the view that we must embrace popular culture. Rather than looking down on reality TV, we should see it for what it is – a powerful tool to get our message heard by younger generations.

“Matt will be making a donation to St Nicholas Hospice in Suffolk, and he will, of course, declare the amount he receives from the show to Parliament to ensure complete transparency, as normal.”

Having joined the show, he has now lost the Tory whip.

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.”

Andy Drummond, deputy chairman (political) of West Suffolk Conservative Association, said he was looking forward to seeing Mr Hancock “eating a kangaroo’s penis”.

Mr Drummond, who is also chairman of Newmarket Conservatives, in Mr Hancock’s West Suffolk constituency, said: “I’m looking forward to him eating a kangaroo’s penis.

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“Quote me. You can quote me that.”

SNP MP Pete Wishart said: "It speaks volumes that Matt Hancock would rather be stranded in a remote jungle eating kangaroo testicles than spend a moment longer on the Tory benches at Westminster, as Rishi Sunak's government lurches from one crisis to another."

When Tory colleague Nadine Dorries went to the Australian jungle in 2012 she also had the whip suspended.

Mr Hancock was among supporters of Rishi Sunak who welcomed the new leader to Conservative headquarters last week but was overlooked for a ministerial job under the new Prime Minister.

10 celebrities are set to go into the jungle this Sunday when the ITV series kicks off.

Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly are returning to host proceedings, with a trailer showing them jumping out of a helicopter into the jungle.

The show will also include the likes of Boy George, who will be joined by Coronation Street’s Sue Cleaver, Hollyoaks’ Owen Warner, TV presenter and property expert Scarlette Douglas, former England rugby player Mike Tindall, Loose Women star Charlene White, radio presenter Chris Moyles, reality TV star Olivia Attwood, former footballer Jill Scott and comedian Babatunde Aleshe.

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In September, it was confirmed there will be an all-star series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! hosted from South Africa next year.

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