Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has lost his party’s whip after signing up for ‘I’m a Celebrity’
Former UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock was suspended as Tory MP on Monday over his intention to take part in the popular reality show ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’.
Conservative Party Chief Whip Simon Hart made the announcement shortly after The Sun revealed that Hancock would soon swap the halls of Westminster for the Australian jungle, where he will be fighting for survival along with other well-known contestants.
“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,” Hart, who is responsible for party discipline, said.
Hart’s decision means that Hancock must now sit in Parliament as an independent MP, unless his whip is returned to him.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also expressed his disapproval of Hancock’s decision to take time off in order to be the show.
“The PM believes that at a challenging time for the country, MPs should be working hard for their constituents in the House or in their constituencies. The public, when they elect their MPs, expect them to work hard for their constituency,” Sunak’s spokesperson said.
According to the spokesperson, it is “unlikely” that the prime minister will watch Hancock’s struggles on TV, though some Tory party members apparently can’t wait.
“I’m looking forward to him eating a kangaroo’s penis. Quote me. You can quote me that,” Andy Drummond, the deputy chairman of the West Suffolk Conservative Association, said.
An unnamed ally of Hancock told LBC that the MP decided to take part in the show because he “doesn’t expect to serve in Government again.”
According to that person, the former health secretary plans to make a charitable donation and views ‘I’m a Celebrity’ as “an amazing opportunity to engage with the public and talk about issues he really cares about – including his dyslexia campaign.”
According to PR expert Mark Borkowski, as quoted by the Daily Mail, the role may have landed Hancock a whopping £350,000 ($401,000). That’s on top of his MP salary of £84,000 ($96,000) – numbers which stirred outrage on social media.
Hancock, who gained wide publicity due to his TV appearances during the Covid-19 pandemic, resigned as health secretary last year. His resignation came after a video emerged showing him kissing his aide, Gina Coladangelo, in his office, in breach of his own social distancing rules.
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