Former UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock suspended by Tories for role on reality TV show – POLITICO

LONDON – Former UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been suspended as a Tory MP after signing up for the popular reality TV show I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

Hancock will lose the Tory whip and have to sit as an independent MP after agreeing to join a cast of bug-eating celebrities in the Australian jungle. It is not known how much he will be paid.

Chief Government Whip Simon Hart said it was “serious” business for Hancock to leave the UK for an extended period while Parliament was sitting, just to appear on a TV show.

Andy Drummond, deputy chairman of the West Suffolk Conservative Association – Hancock’s local Conservative organization – told the Press Association he was looking forward to seeing the former Cabinet minister “eat a kangaroo’s penis”.

But a Hancock ally described it as an “incredible opportunity for him to engage with the 12 million Britons who log on every night”, and said he intended to use the platform to promote its dyslexia awareness campaign.

They added that Hancock had declined an initial approach “due to the instability the government was facing” but would now participate as “the government is stable” under Rishi Sunak’s leadership.

Hancock’s Tory colleague Nadine Dorries was also suspended from the party for participating in the same program in 2012. She had the whip restored six months later and was eventually promoted to Cabinet.

Hancock served in the Cabinet as health secretary throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, before losing his job in June 2021 after carrying out an extramarital affair in breach of lockdown rules.

He was seeking a return to frontline politics by running as Chairman of the Commons Treasury Select Committee. He has now retired from that race to immerse himself in a different kind of wilderness.


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