FORMER Tory health secretary Matt Hancock has been suspended by the party after he ditched parliament to join I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

The MP’s decision to head to the jungle has infuriated colleagues and families who lost loved ones to the coronavirus

Shortly after news of his imminent appearance on the Ant and Dec fronted survival show was revealed in today’s Sun, the Tories removed the whip.

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, the deputy chairman of the MP's West Suffolk Conservative Association, told the PA: "I'm looking forward to him eating a kangaroo's penis. Quote me. You can quote me on that."

Aamer Anwar, the solicitor to the Scottish Covid Bereaved group said: “The families find it horrific and shameful that a man blamed by many for the needless loss of lives and for the carousel of chaos that was his response to Covid19 should seek to capitalise from their grief.

"We were appearing at the UK Covid19 Inquiry this morning on behalf of the Scottish Covid bereaved, whilst this man was busy insulting thousands of grieving families by announcing his entry to I' a Celebrity... "

However, an ally of the ex-minister claimed his appearance was about engaging with the politically disengaged.


They 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.”

Details of his appearance come a day after he ended his campaign to be the next chair of the Treasury selected committee and follow reports that he had been passed over for a ministerial post by Rishi Sunak. 

Last week footage of Mr Hancock seemingly being snubbed by the new Prime Minister went viral. 

Mr Sunak's official spokesman said the new Tory leader was not happy with Mr Hancock's decision.

"The Prime Minister thinks at a challenging time for the country MPs should be working hard for their constituents, whether that’s in the house or in their constituency."

"The public, when they elect their MPs, expect them to work hard for their constituency," they added.

Mr Hancock is not the first politician to take part in the programme, his former cabinet colleague Nadine Dorries was on the show in 2013. She was briefly suspended by the Tories over the decision. 

Kezia Dugdale took part in 2017, shortly after her time as leader of Scottish Labour came to an end, though while she was still an MSP.

She was forced to drink a milkshake of ostrich and pig anuses and crawled through fish guts in a tank labelled Sickola Sturgeon.

The Herald:

Other contestants lined up for this year’s show include comedian Seann Walsh and singer Boy George.

A TV insider told The Sun: “Matt is a sensational signing for the show as producers love a star with a story to tell – and they always hope they’ll spill the beans round the campfire.

“He’s the latest in a long line of figures from the political sphere, including MP Nadine Dorries, Stanley Johnson and MP Lembit Opik.

“There’s been a question mark over who the 12th campmate would be, partly because negotiations over Matt going in were so top secret. It seems Matt was a last-minute signing.”

Mr Hancock was forced to resign as health secretary last year after the Sun published pictures of him breaching his own social distancing guidance by kissing colleague, Gina Coladangelo, inside the Department of Health.

The SNP's Pete Wishart said: "It speaks volumes that Matt Hancock would rather be stranded in a remote jungle eating kangaroo testicles than spend a moment longer on the Tory benches at Westminster, as Rishi Sunak's government lurches from one crisis to another."

Labour's shadow health minister, Andrew Gwynne said: "To be fair to Matt Hancock, I'd sooner eat wallaby anus than be a Tory MP too."