Matt Hancock has been facing backlash for his decision to take part in ITV’s reality TV show I’m a Celebrity.
Viewers were introduced to the former health secretary in the jungle on Wednesday 9 November, with Hancock undergoing his first Bushtucker Trial alongside newcomer Seann Walsh.
The sitting MP has been suspended as the Tory Whip for deciding to go into the jungle and will sit on the benches as an Independent once he gets back from Down Under.
Councillors in his consituency have asked the MP to “resign his seat” and “clear the pitch for someone who wants to serve the people of West Suffolk”. Whilst Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that he is “very disappointed” in him adding that he should instead be “working hard” for his constituents.
So, where is Matt Hancock’s constituency and what have his constituents said about him being on I’m a Celeb? Here’s everything you need to know.
Where is Matt Hancock’s constituency?
Hancock was elected as the MP for West Suffolk in 2010 and has served the seat ever since. West Suffolk is located in the eastern region of England. The constituency includes the town of Newmarket, which is the home of horse racing, as well as the towns of Haverhill and Mildenhall.
What have his constituents said about him joining I’m a Celebrity?
Reported by Suffolk News, Haverhill Town Council have called for the MP to “resign his post immediately”. In a letter written by council clerk Colin Poole, the council said: “By a majority vote members of the council have directed me to express their displeasure at your decision to absent yourself from your duty to your constituents to join the cast of ITV’s I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!
“At a time when unprecedented cost-of-living pressures on your residents are causing real hardship to them, and we have a failing health service locally with appalling ambulance response times, the energy crisis causing schools and other public services severe issues in maintaining services, my members believe we need all hands on deck to fight our corner.
“Currently there is no one to speak for West Suffolk in the House of Commons and your actions are unlikely to gain any sympathy for the area when all the other parliamentarians are in the chamber fighting their own corners.
“By your actions you have made it clear to everyone that you see your future outside of politics. My members ask that you do the honourable thing and resign your seat, so you can follow your chosen path and clear the pitch for someone who wants to serve the people of West Suffolk.”
There has also been a strong response on social media, particularly from other political parties. The Liberal Democrats shared a post on Twitter with the I’m a Celeb logo edited to read: “You’re an MP get back to work”, stating in the caption: “Never mind #ImACeleb and trying to win meals for a jungle camp, Matt Hancock should be in the UK, in his office, and delivering for constituents wondering where their next meal will come from.”
Whilst appearing on This Morning, Labour MP Angela Rayner said: “Matt Hancock should decide whether he wants to squirm around with maggots or represent his constituents.”
What has the Prime Minister said about him joining I’m a Celebrity?
Sunak shared that he is “very disappointed” in the former health secretary adding that he should instead be “working hard” for his constituents.
Speaking at COP27 in Egypt he said: “I think politics is a noble profession, at its best – it can and should be – but it’s incumbent on politicians to earn people’s respect and trust. They do that by working hard for their constituents, as the vast majority of MPs do – that is why I was very disappointed with Matt’s decision.”
Have other MPs been on I’m a Celeb?
Hancock is not the only sitting MP to appear on the reality TV show. In 2012, Nadine Dorries was the first MP to appear on the show whilst parliament was in session. She was suspended by the Conservative Party and was the first celebrity to be evicted.
Other politicians that have appeared on the series include Edwina Currie, Stanley Johnson - Boris Johnson’s father, Lembit Opik and Kezia Dugdale. However, they were not sitting MPs at the time.