Former health secretary Matt Hancock suspended as Tory MP after joining I'm A Celeb... cast

Matt Hancock is joining the cast of I'm a Celebrity... Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Former health secretary Matt Hancock has been stripped of the Tory whip after signing up to appear on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

He was immediately suspended on Tuesday when reports emerged, and he must sit as an independent until the whip is restored.

Mr Hancock will swap representing his constituents at Westminster for eating bugs in the jungle.

The West Suffolk MP - who was forced to quit as health secretary after breaking coronavirus lockdown rules by conducting an affair in his ministerial office - will join stars like Boy George, Charlene White and Mike Tindall after the full line-up was revealed 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.

Mr Hancock follows in the footsteps of Tory colleague Nadine Dorries, who also had the whip suspended when she went to the Australian jungle in 2012.She was later forced to apologise to the Commons after it was revealed she failed to declare her fee.

The Mid-Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries had the Conservative Whip withdrawn when she appeared on the show in 2012 Credit: ITV

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, told PA news agency: “I’m looking forward to him eating a kangaroo’s penis.

“Quote me. You can quote me that.”

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.

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

Who is Matt Hancock?

  • The current sitting MP for West Suffolk

  • Served as the Health Secretary during the pandemic.

  • Was forced to resign after footage revealed he had broken his own lockdown rules by having an affair in his office with Gina Coladangelo - wife of Oliver Bonas owner, Oliver Tress.

  • After leaving his wife and moving in with Gina, the couple announced they would climb to the top of Mont Blanc to raise money for a new children's hospital. They did not reach the summit, however, due to the heatwave.

  • Appeared on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.

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