Matt Hancock stripped of Tory whip for entering 'I’m A Celebrity…'

The former health secretary was overlooked for a Cabinet role in Rishi Sunak's government

Matt Hancock, former cabinet minster, will join the infamous TV reality show
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Former health secretary Matt Hancock has been stripped of the Tory whip after signing up to join I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!

Mr Hancock was a surprise extra name added to the list of contenders and allies said he would use his appearance to promote his work on dyslexia.

But Chief Whip Simon Hart said the situation was so serious he should have the right to sit as a Conservative suspended.

“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,” Mr Hart said.

The West Suffolk MP was forced to quit as health secretary in June 2021 after breaking coronavirus lockdown rules by conducting an affair in his ministerial office with aide Gina Coladangelo.

Lobby Akinnola, from the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign, said: “Matt Hancock isn’t a ‘celebrity’, he’s the former health secretary who oversaw the UK having one of the highest death tolls in the world from Covid-19 whilst breaking his own lockdown rules.

He said that Mr Hancock was "trying to cash in on his terrible legacy rather than showing some humility."

“My family was ripped apart by Matt Hancock’s actions and turning on the TV to see him being paraded around as a joke is sickening."

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

He had also reportedly been considering a run to be chair of the Treasury Select Committee, but pulled out of the race on Monday.

An ally of Mr Hancock said: “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.

“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.”

The ally said producers of the show have agreed that Mr Hancock can communicate with them if there is an urgent constituency matter.

Updated: November 01, 2022, 12:02 PM
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