Matt Hancock was on Good Morning Britain today (31 January) to speak about his time as Health Secretary during the pandemic, and his decision to take part in I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of here!
The Conservative MP who sits as an Independent having had the whip suspended in November 2022 resigned as Health Secretary after it was revealed that he had broken social distancing rules whilst having an affair with adviser Gina Coladangelo.
He was challenged by presenter Kate Garraway, who spoke about her difficulties caring for her husband Derek during and after the pandemic, and asked him to explain why he decided to take part in a reality TV show a year after quitting the cabinet.
What did Kate Garraway say to Matt Hancock?
Speaking about her experience during the pandemic, Kate said: “At that time I couldn’t visit Derek in hospital, he couldn’t see his kids. Thousands of others couldn’t go and see the people they loved for various reasons because they were following the guidelines. You have to understand it was all very muddled at that point.”
She went on to take Hancock to task over his time in the jungle - he was paid £320,000 for 30 days work taking part in I’m a Celebrity and donated 3% of his fee to charity. Kate said: “It gives the impression that you still don’t get why they’re cross. You still don’t get why people are upset because that amount of money is vast to everybody.
“And i’m sure there are other people who went into the job when you did, who maybe got more, maybe got less I don’t know. But they’re holding you to more account because you’re probably only there because you were health secretary at the time making these huge decisions.
“You made the decision to go in at a time before you’d answered to an inquiry and at a time when people still feel very raw. Can you explain now because I’m not sure people yet feel comfortable why you did it.”
What did Matt Hancock say on Good Morning Britain?
Hancock responded: “I get all that, I really do and I really feel it. The reason I think it’s important that I wrote the book in particular, with the inquiry coming later is I have to be completely open about what I did, why I took the decisions that I did so that we can learn as much as possible. I feel really strongly about that.
“If I can contribute anything now to the future of making sure this doesn’t happen as badly again it’s making sure we really learn the lessons about how to handle these things because there will be another one.”
Hancock’s register of interests show that this month he was paid £48,000 by Biteback Publishing for an interview and a serialisation of his book, Pandemic Diaries, in the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday.
He was also paid £45,000 in October last year for 80 hours of filming for Channel 4 show Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins. Filming took place whilst parliament was in recess and the programme will air later this year.
What happened to Kate Garraway’s husband?
Kate’s husband Derek Draper is suffering from a serious case of long Covid. He was hospitalised with Covid-19 in March 2020 and remained in hospital for a year. He returned to his home in 2021 but is still incapacitated and requires constant care.
Derek returned to hospital in October last year with sepsis - Kate confirmed in December that he was back home again but added: “the fight goes on”.