Families of those who died in the Covid pandemic have started a petition to have former health secretary Matt Hancock removed from the roster of contestants for TV’s I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice appealed to ITV to drop the MP from its line-up, accusing him of a “shameless search for publicity” ahead of the publication of his book about the pandemic, due for release in December.
Mr Hancock was stripped of the Conservative whip after announcing his involvement in the programme and Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson made clear the prime minister’s disapproval, stating that he felt MPs should be working for their constituents.
Launching their petition on the 38 Degrees website, the Families for Justice said: “Matt Hancock isn’t a ‘celebrity’, he’s the health secretary who oversaw the UK having one of the highest death tolls in the world from Covid-19 whilst breaking his own lockdown rules.
“The fact that he is trying to cash in on his terrible legacy, rather than showing some humility or seeking to reflect on the appalling consequences of his time in government says it all about the sort of his person he is.
“Families were ripped apart by Matt Hancock’s actions, and turning on the TV to see him being paraded around as a joke is sickening.
“If he had any respect for families who lost loved ones to Covid-19, he would be sharing his private emails with the Covid Inquiry, not eating bugs on TV.
“ITV should do the decent thing and remove him from the programme.”
The group added: “Over 200,000 people lost their lives to Covid-19 across the UK.
“Matt Hancock was at the very centre of decisions such as locking down late, allowing large-scale sporting events to go ahead as the virus ran rampant and failing to get our healthcare workers the PPE they needed.
“On top of that he was fired after breaking the rules he helped set.
“His profiteering and shameless search for publicity in the run up to his book launch is another insult to already grieving families.”