'I'm A Celebrity': Matt Hancocks admits 'no excuse' for his actions before resignation

West Suffolk Tory MP revealed he is still in a relationship with Gina Coladangelo

Matt Hancock, a former UK cabinet minister and now reality-TV star. Getty
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Matt Hancock has admitted to fellow contestants in the jungle that there was “no excuse” for the actions that led to his resignation as health secretary, but insisted “I fell in love”.

The Tory MP, 44, broke coronavirus social-distancing rules by having an affair in his ministerial office with aide Gina Coladangelo and was forced to quit in June 2021.

Mr Hancock, the MP for West Suffolk, joined the cast of I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here on Wednesday, entering the camp with comedian Seann Walsh after much criticism over his decision from the public and fellow politicians.

Mr Hancock told his campmates on Thursday’s episode that he had resigned because he understood how people felt about him, after security footage proving the relationship was leaked.

TV presenter and property expert Scarlette Douglas told him as they did chores around the camp: “I want to say this morning as I don’t like to leave things in …

“A lot of things that happened with you during the times, which does make it difficult because people are angry and upset — emotions are running high.

“We are not going to ever exclude anyone. We want to make sure that everyone’s a family, but if it does feel tough for the first few days, I’m sure you understand why.”

Mr Hancock replied: “That’s very good of you to say that.”

Douglas continued: “It was hard. A lot of people had difficult times.

“And then to see that people that had kind of set the rules had then broken them, I think was a big slap in the face for everyone.”

Mr Hancock replied: “Look, I know how people felt. That’s why I resigned, right? I know how people felt and so good on you for saying that, thank you.”

Matt Hancock, former cabinet minister, arrives at BBC Broadcasting House in London on October 16. Getty

Later in the Bush Telegraph, he said: “Scarlette was very open and also very thoughtful and that’s really what it’s all about.

“Being able to talk about things, whether they’re things you’re proud of, or things you’re not proud of.”

Later, speaking to comedian Babatunde Aleshe, Mr Hancock discussed how his life had changed after his affair became public.

“It was really tough,” he said. “I messed up and I fessed up.

"I resigned and it’s no excuse but I fell in love, right? That also had a lot of other consequences obviously.”

Asked if he was still with Ms Coladangelo, he replied: “With Gina? Yeah very much so, yeah, totally.

“That’ll be the best thing about being kicked out, seeing her on the bridge.”

The episode also saw Mr Hancock take part in the latest Bushtucker Trial, Tentacles of Terror, in which he was trapped inside a octopus-shaped cage full of underwater critters.

The MP was given the task of collecting 11 numbered stars in order as the structure was lowered into the water.

He did so and won full rations for the camp.

As he began his trial, co-host Ant McPartlin asked him: “You must have met a few snakes in your time in Westminster.”

As Mr Hancock made his way back to the camp, Walsh and soap star Sue Cleaver discussed his decision to enter the Australian jungle.

Defending him, Walsh said: “That man will have a very different account of what he did to what we all think happened and there will be reasons.

“I’m not justifying anything that that guy did or certainly what that government … the decisions they’ve made, but … being in his job when that was going on.”

Cleaver replied: “I totally, totally agree with you, but the choice after everything that happened and the impact on everybody at home and families and people in homes to make a choice to come into I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here does not sit well with me.

“He’s got constituents back at home, he’s a serving member of Parliament.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said on Thursday that Mr Hancock should “voluntarily leave” the I’m A Celebrity jungle and return to Parliament.

Mr Starmer told BBC Radio that Mr Hancock's decision to enter the show was “wrong”.

“He should get back to Westminster, he should get back to Parliament and do his job,” he said.

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! continues on ITV on Friday at 9pm.

Updated: November 11, 2022, 7:47 AM
NEWSLETTERS
MORE FROM THE NATIONAL