Boy George’s mum: why I’m a Celebrity star’s mother was in hospital and what he said to Matt Hancock in jungle
Matt Hancock joined his I’m a Celebrity 2022 cast mates alongside comedian Seann Walsh on Wednesday night (9 November)
and live on Freeview channel 276
The suspended Conservative Party MP, 44, found himself at ‘Mole HQ’ rather than the main I’m A Celeb basecamp. He then had to undertake a series of challenges involving dark tunnels, disgusting sludge and lots of insects, alongside comedian Seann Walsh.
Hancock’s time in the jungle is set to be lucrative, as he is due to bag himself several thousand pounds’ worth of taxpayers money in the form of his MP’s salary whilst being in Australia - more than 10,000 miles away from his constituents in West Suffolk.
While that has been controversial, the very fact the former Health Secretary is appearing on ITV’s primetime slot in an apparent bid to boost his public image has itself come in for criticism. When Hancock was announced as an I’m a Celeb cast member, Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice called for ITV to remove him from the show due to his performance in the pandemic.
This distaste was shared by Culture Club singer Boy George, 61, who was shown toying with the idea of quitting the reality TV show when Hancock arrived. But why was Boy George so angry about the Tory’s arrival? Here’s what you need to know.
Why is Boy George angry at Matt Hancock?
Matt Hancock’s arrival in the I’m A Celebrity camp was a muted affair. Several cast members, including Chris Moyles and Sue Cleaver, expressed surprise and a hint of anger that the MP was in the jungle with them.
But the most withering welcome for the ex-Health Secretary came from Boy George. The singer revealed his mum, Dinah O’Dowd, was in hospital during the first Covid-19 national lockdown and that he had been unable to go to see her.
While he did not reveal whether or not the 83-year-old had been in hospital with Covid, he said she had made a full recovery since.
Matt Hancock was in charge of the UK’s response to the coronavirus pandemic for all three national lockdowns, before being forced to resign over breaking the rules he had himself set by having an affair with aide Gina Coladangelo.
The West Suffolk MP was criticised alongside his boss Boris Johnson for appearing to pursue a ‘herd immunity’ strategy with the virus before locking the country down. Many believe the government locked the country down too late and too severely, which caused unnecessary deaths.
Hancock also oversaw the unofficial policy of moving Covid-carrying hospital patients into care homes, which is likely to have caused further deaths among vulnerable, elderly people. Meanwhile, the department he led was partly responsible for allowing profiteering on Covid contracts and for appearing to give contracts out to close associates of Tory MPs.
Famously, one of the beneficiaries of this Covid contract bonanza was a former pub landlord in Hancock’s constituency, Alex Bourne, who won £40 million in government Covid contracts despite having never previously produced medical equipment.
The subsequent lockdowns and rules drawn up by Johnson and Hancock were also criticised for being inadequate or too tardy.
What did Boy George say?
Speaking about why he was so angry at Matt Hancock on the Wednesday evening (9 November) show, Boy George said he thought his mother was going to die.
“I was tweeting Greenwich Hospital saying please look after my mum,” he said. "They did and she was fine, but I feel like I don’t want to be sitting here like I’m having fun with him [Hancock].
"It is difficult for me because had something happened and my mum had gone, I wouldn’t be here now. I would have gone if he had walked in."
Later on, in the Bush Telegraph video diary room, Boy George told the camera: "I feel a little bit selfish. Everyone was so nice to him, and I was like, Jesus, you know? What are we going to do.
"I don’t want to ruin this experience [but] I am not good at hiding what I feel especially when it is something so strong."
Later in the show, he once again questioned whether or not he should stay in camp with Hancock. The pair have not held a full conversation since the MP’s arrival in camp.