Matt Hancock's jungle stint in I'm a Celebrity is already annoying and we've not had the footage yet
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There’s a PR team somewhere tearing their hair out over how to rebrand the impossible. And perhaps that PR team is Matt Hancock’s. For the Tory politician, who has not even uttered a single word on reality TV show I’m a Celebrity, is clocking up quite the catalogue of nods to The Thick of It. Maybe he’s a fan of the satire political series, or believes it to be documentary.
It’s commendable, of course, to donate some of his £400,000 to charities. It’s fantastic to speak out about having dyslexia and how he is proud to discuss this and ensure more support for children today. He has also taken part in charity marathon fundraisers. Wonderful.
What is less wonderful is the way these deeds correspond with a man who, until very recently, was the face of how not to conduct your life as a front bench minister. A man who is also still profiting from public money as an MP for West Suffolk, despite taking a chunk of time away from his constituents. He has lost the Conservative Whip for appearing on the show, but he has not lost the huge salary.
The former health secretary resigned in June 2021 after a video was leaked of him kissing his aide, Gina Coladangelo.
For a quick recap on Matt Hancock’s career highlights so far, the one he’ll claim is the vaccine roll-out (let’s not consider the fact that many other people are responsible for the prompt vaccine roll-out, not least the scientists who developed it).
He made it to Health Secretary under Boris Johnson’s government. During his tenure in post, he was responsible for handling demands of PPE and the huge pressure on NHS staff. Ask a selection of nurses and doctors how Matt Hancock did in terms of supply, it will unfailingly be a rolled eyes affair. There were also contracts for PPE going to Tory friends, rather than potentially the best placed to deliver on huge volume orders of equipment and protective gear.
And now we have daily reminders of his out-of-touch lifestyle. He has stayed in luxury accommodation when in isolation with access to his laptop, awaiting his jungle stint, and scenes of his arrival in camp are due to be aired imminently. How the other campmates respond to his arrival will be interesting. He’s the man we can’t abide, but will a random selection of celebrities abide with him in peace?