Matt Hancock is arguably the most controversial contestant taking part in this year’s series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
His participation in the reality contest has been the subject of uproar in the UK, amid the cost of living crisis and ongoing political turmoil.
The Conservative MP, who resigned as health secretary last year after he was caught kissing his aide Gina Coladangelo, announced that he would be featuring on the forthcoming series of the hit ITV reality show.
A report in The Sun quotes an inside source on the show as saying: “[Hancock’s] pay deal with I’m A Celebrity is around £400,000 which is one of the largest ever show fees to have been paid out.
“ITV were keen for viewers to think the deal was worth around £150,000 but in reality it’s over double that. They asked him to be on the show three times in a matter of weeks and the money definitely helped seal the deal.”
A spokesperson for Hancock said: “Matt will be making a donation to St Nicholas Hospice in Suffolk and causes supporting dyslexia off the back of his appearance.”
The spokesperson added: “He will also declare the amount he receives from the show to Parliament to ensure complete transparency, as normal.”
“This is an amazing opportunity to engage with the public and talk about issues he really cares about – including his dyslexia campaign. Matt is still working on constituency matters and will continue to do so up until he goes into the jungle. Producers have agreed that Matt can communicate with his team throughout the show if there’s an urgent constituency matter.”
ITV declined to comment.
Hancock’s involvement in the series has attracted criticism from fans of the show as well as others in the political sphere.
Access unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime Video Sign up now for a 30-day free trial
Prime minister Rishi Sunak was among those to criticise Hancock, with an official spokesperson saying: “The PM believes that at a challenging time for the country, MPs should be working hard for their constituents in the House or in their constituencies.
“The public when they elect their MPs, expect them to work hard for their constituency.”
Chief whip Simon Hart said: “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.”
Hancock has joined a cast for the 2022 edition of I’m a Celeb that includes DJ Chris Moyles, England footballer Jill Scott and Loose Women star Charlene White.
His arrival at the jungle camp on Wednesday 9 November with comedian Seann Walsh was met with shock from their fellow contestants, with Boy George expressing upset at Hancock’s taking part.