Suffolk MP Matt Hancock cancelled British Dyslexia Association appearance to go on I'm A Celebrity

Matt Hancock in the I'm a Celebrity jungle.
Credit: ITV Studios
Matt Hancock cancelled plans to appear at the British Dyslexia Association's 50th anniversary. Credit: ITV Studios

Matt Hancock was "unable to fulfil his prior commitment" to speak at a dyslexia charity's 50th anniversary - because he was in the I'm A Celebrity... jungle instead, an MP has revealed.The former health secretary had agreed to be guest speaker for the British Dyslexia Association event at the House of Lords last Wednesday.But after deciding to appeared on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, the MP had to cancel - leaving his Suffolk colleague Tom Hunt to fill in.On entering the jungle, Mr Hancock, who has dyslexia himself, said he was heading to the jungle so he could "raise the profile of my dyslexia campaign".Writing in the Sun newspaper earlier this month, he said: "I want to use this incredible platform to raise awareness, so no child leaves primary school not knowing if they have dyslexia."By talking about dyslexia on prime-time TV, I hope to not only increase support for my Dyslexia Screening and Teacher Training Bill ... but I aim to help the public better understand this very common condition, that affects around one in 10 people."But Mr Hunt, who represents constituents in Ipswich, has revealed he had to step in at last week's event because the West Suffolk MP was no longer available."Fellow dyslexic and Suffolk colleague Matt Hancock was unable to fulfil his commitment to be the guest speaker at the 50th anniversary of the British Dyslexia Association so I filled in yesterday!" he wrote on Facebook. "As I’ve said before, when I was 12 I had a reading and writing age of an 8-year-old. Couldn’t do my shoe laces until I was 14. However when I finally got diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia I got the support I needed. Sadly many have a different experience."

A spokesman for the charity confirmed Mr Hancock had been due to attend and added: "The British Dyslexia Association was delighted that Tom Hunt MP spoke at our 50th birthday celebration at the House of Lords."

On Sunday night's I'm A Celebrity, Mr Hancock was shown speaking to fellow contestants Babatunde Aleshe and Seann Walsh about his diagnosis.

"I desperately wanted to learn," he said. "One side, on maths, I could and on English I couldn’t.

"The moment I was identified as dyslexic at university it was 'ahhhh'. So actually I am OK with language, it's just my brain works differently - and I can work on that."

The MP's Dyslexia Screening and Teacher Training Bill is due to have its second reading in parliament on 2 December.

If Mr Hancock makes it to the I'm A Celebrity final, he will leave the jungle on 27 November.

He has previously said he would make donations from his appearance fee to good causes including a local hospice and dyslexia charities.

A spokesman for the Suffolk MP said: "By going on the show, Matt hopes to raise the profile of his dyslexia campaign and will use the platform to talk about an issue he really cares about in front of millions of people.

"Matt will be making a donation to St Nicholas Hospice in Suffolk and causes supporting dyslexia - including the British Dyslexia Association, off the back of his appearance."

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