Matt Hancock has had the Tory whip suspended with immediate effect after signing up for I’m A Celebrity. The former health secretary is set to take part in this year’s series of the ITV show.
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.”
A political ally of Mr Hancock said he seized an “incredibly opportunity” to appear on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! because he “doesn’t expect to serve in Government again”.
They said the show’s producers have agreed with the West Suffolk MP that his constituents can communicate with him on “urgent” matters while he is in the jungle.
The source said: “I’m A Celeb is the most watched show on TV.
“Matt doesn’t expect to serve in Government again, so it’s an incredible opportunity for him to engage with the 12 million Brits who tune in every single night.
“Matt has told the whips in Parliament and he will use his time in the jungle to promote his dyslexia campaign.
“Matt has an excellent team working with him in West Suffolk, but producers have agreed that he can communicate with them if there’s an urgent constituency matter.”
It comes after Nadine Dorries had the whip suspended when she appeared on the 2012 series of the ITV show.
Mr Hancock will follow in the footsteps of his Tory colleague by swapping Westminster for eating bugs in the Australian jungle.
The West Suffolk MP was forced to quit as health secretary last year after breaking coronavirus lockdown rules by conducting an affair in his ministerial office.
Mr Hancock was among supporters of Rishi Sunak who welcomed the new leader to Conservative headquarters last week but was overlooked for a ministerial job under the new PM.
He had also reportedly been considering a run to be chair of the Treasury Select Committee, but pulled out of the race on Monday.