Matt Hancock: is he appearing on I’m A Celeb 2022 lineup, will he have the whip suspended - is he still an MP?

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The MP for West Suffolk has already had the Tory whip suspended for his involvement in the show

Matt Hancock will be one of the contestants on this year’s I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

The MP made headlines during the Covid pandemic after images emerged of him cheating on his wife. The former Health Secretary was forced to resign from his post after it was revealed he had broken his own lockdown rules by having the affair at the office.

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Hancock was a surprise extra name added to the list of contenders, and political allies said he would use his appearance to promote his work on dyslexia.

It is thought Hancock will be a later addition to the cast, not included with the original 10 names entering the jungle at the start of the show.

Here is everything you need to know.

Is Matt Hancock really going on I’m A Celeb?

(Photo: Getty Images)(Photo: Getty Images)
(Photo: Getty Images) | Getty Images

The politician - who is still a serving MP for his West Suffolk constituency - will be entering the show as a late entrant alongside comedian Seann Walsh, being the 12th celebrity to enter the jungle.

The MP was forced to quit as health secretary after breaking coronavirus lockdown rules by conducting an affair in his ministerial office.

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His potential involvement risked being punished at Westminster – when Tory colleague Nadine Dorries went to the Australian jungle in 2012 she had the whip suspended - and he has already faced repercussions from his party.

Hancock has been stripped of the Tory whip after signing up to join I’m A Celebrity, with Chief Whip Simon Hart saying the situation was so serious he should have the right to sit as a Conservative suspended.

“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 said.

Hancock was among supporters of Rishi Sunak who welcomed the new leader to Conservative headquarters last week but was overlooked for a ministerial job under the new Prime Minister.

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Isn’t Hancock a serving MP?

It has been reported that producers of the show have agreed that Hancock can communicate with them if there is an urgent constituency matter.

An ally of Hancock 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.”

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Hancock has seized an “incredible opportunity” to appear on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, because he “doesn’t expect to serve in Government again”, according to another political ally of the former health secretary.

“Matt doesn’t expect to serve in Government again, so it’s an incredible opportunity for him to engage with the 12 million Brits who tune in every single night,” they said.

Andy Drummond, deputy chairman (political) of West Suffolk Conservative Association, said he was looking forward to seeing Matt Hancock “eating a kangaroo’s penis” as it emerged that the former health secretary is to appear on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

Drummond, who is also chairman of Newmarket Conservatives, in Hancock’s West Suffolk constituency, said: “I’m looking forward to him eating a kangaroo’s penis. Quote me. You can quote me that.”

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Who else will be on I’m A Celeb 2022?

10 celebrities are set to go into the jungle this Sunday (6 November) when the ITV series kicks off.

Olivia Attwood from Love Island, rugby star Mike Tindall and Boy George are among the other celebrities travelling into the jungle for the 2022 series.

The show will also include the likes of Coronation Street’s Sue Cleaver, Hollyoaks’ Owen Warner, TV presenter and property expert Scarlette Douglas, Loose Women star Charlene White, radio presenter Chris Moyles, former footballer Jill Scott, and comedian Babatunde Aleshe.

Former England rugby player Tindall, 44, is married to the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall and helped England win the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

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He married the Princess Royal’s daughter in 2011, and the couple have three children: Mia, Lena and Lucas Tindall.

On Thursday (27 October), former England footballer Jill Scott fuelled rumours she was also one of the celebrities heading into the jungle, as she was spotted arriving in Australia.

The 35-year-old midfielder, who retired in the summer following her team’s historic win at the European Championship, was pictured arriving at Brisbane airport.

She was the fifth famous face who had been seen touching down in Australia after Coronation Street’s Sue Cleaver, reality TV star Olivia Attwood, radio DJ Chris Moyles and Hollyoaks actor Owen Warner were snapped earlier in the week.

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Here is the full list of celebrities appearing on this year’s show:

  • Babatunde Aléshé - Actor & comedian
  • Boy George - Culture Club singer
  • Charlene White - ITV News & Loose Women presenter
  • Chris Moyles - Radio & television presenter
  • Jill Scott - Former England footballer
  • Mike Tindall - Former England rugby player
  • Olivia Attwood - Television personality
  • Owen Warner - Hollyoaks actor
  • Scarlette Douglas - Former A Place in the Sun presenter
  • Sue Cleaver - Coronation Street actress

The reality programme is returning to its native jungle site in Australia after filming at Gwrych Castle in North Wales due to Covid-19 travel restrictions for the last two years.

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