The former health secretary said he was entering the ITV programme’s jungle to “go to where the people are – not to sit in ivory towers in Westminster”, and said that his number one priority remains his constituency work. Hancock also argued that appearing on the show was “a great opportunity to talk directly to people who aren’t always interested in politics” and that reality TV is an “honest and unfiltered” way to communicate with voters.
Some of the biggest names in show business and sport have already signed up for the latest series, but here’s everything you need to know about Matt Hancock’s appearance as the show marks 20 years since it debuted on television.
Is Matt Hancock donating his I’m a Celebrity fee?
The MP said it was not the money that changed his mind, saying he will make “a donation” to St Nicholas Hospice Care in Suffolk, similar to what many MPs have done in the past. Hancock has not confirmed whether he will give up the full amount of the fee from ITV.
Why is Matt Hancock allowed to leave the House of Commons?
As MPs are not employees and there are no formal requirements for doing the job, they are free to spend as much or as little time in Parliament as they like.
There are also no formal guidelines on holidays meaning that the MP can leave to take part in the show. The Commons is due to sit for only 158 days in 2022 but MPs often spend many of their days “off” doing constituency work. However, there is nothing to stop them taking holidays instead, or indeed taking a break while Parliament is sitting. Taking a break from Parliament to appear on reality TV usually brings criticism, but many have called for further deterrents to stop MPs from doing so.
What is Matt Hancock’s salary?
Matt Hancock’s salary is £84,144 per annum. if Mr Hancock lasts the full three weeks on I’m A Celebrity he will have received just under £5,000 in salary despite being absent from the Commons, and on top of any payment from broadcaster ITV.
What have Tory MPs said about Matt Hancock on I’m a Celeb?
One Tory MP described Mr Hancock as an “absolute prat” as campaigners for families bereaved in the Covid-19 pandemic accused him of trying to “cash in on his terrible legacy”.
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.”
In Mr Hancock’s constituency, Andy Drummond, deputy chairman of the West Suffolk Conservative Association, said: “I’m looking forward to him eating a kangaroo’s penis. Quote me. You can quote me on that.”
Ian Houlder, a Conservative councillor on West Suffolk Council, said Mr Hancock has “no shame”. “Everybody knows what he did during the Covid pandemic and he seems to want to rehabilitate himself all the time in the public eye. He’s got a skin as thick as a rhinoceros.”