Former health secretary Matt Hancock has been stripped of the Tory whip after signing up to join I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
Mr Hancock was a surprise extra name added to the list of contenders and allies said he would use his appearance to promote his work on dyslexia.
But it will mean being away from Parliament and the Tories suspended the whip, while campaigners for families bereaved in the Covid-19 pandemic accused him of trying to “cash in on his terrible legacy”.
The response at Westminster was swift after news that West Suffolk MP Mr Hancock would join the ITV show, which starts on Sunday.
Mr Hancock was forced to quit as health secretary in June 2021 after breaking coronavirus social distancing rules by conducting an affair in his ministerial office with aide Gina Coladangelo.
The ally said producers of the show have agreed that Mr Hancock can communicate with constituency staff if there is an urgent matter in West Suffolk.
He will make a donation to St Nicholas Hospice in Suffolk and he will also be required to declare the amount he receives from the show to Parliament.
Mr Hancock initially turned down the offer to take part because of the political chaos at Westminster, but since Mr Sunak became Prime Minister the former health secretary believes “the government is stable”.
But his decision to enter the jungle drew criticism from political opponents, union chiefs and campaigners.
Shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne said: “To be fair to Matt Hancock, I’d sooner eat wallaby anus than be a Tory MP too.”
The House of Commons is in recess from November 10-14, but celebrities could spend up to three weeks in the jungle – meaning Mr Hancock would miss significant Commons business, including the Autumn Statement on November 17 if he remains in the contest.
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