LONDON (AP) — Matt Hancock, the scandal-prone former UK health secretary, sought an unlikely form of redemption Sunday: trying to win “I’m a celebrity…Get me out of here,” a grueling, often gruesome reality. Show set in the Australian jungle.
Hancock led Britain’s response to COVID-19 in the first year of the pandemic, telling people to stay away from others to protect the health service, then was caught breaking his government’s own rules when a video of him kissing and groping an assistant he was having. an affair with
He was forced to resign when The Sun newspaper published the CCTV footage. This time, however, he knew the camera was on and he behaved in a way that many might find even more disgusting: eating the raw underparts of camels, cows, and sheep, among other things.
“I’m a celebrity…” sends a group of famous people, often C-list celebrities, into the Australian bush, subjects them to tests involving spiders and snakes, and they are eliminated one by one based on a vote public.
While many Britons have been disgusted by Hancock’s appearance, blaming him for apparent failings in the government’s early response to the pandemic, viewers exceeded expectations by voting for Hancock for Sunday night’s final. He finished third. Former English soccer star Jill Scott won the competition and actor Owen Warner finished second.
The former health chief was survived by Culture Club singer Boy George and former rugby union player Mike Tindall, whose wife, Zara, is a niece of King Charles III. Tindall’s body accosted Hancock on another of the show’s assignments, and has been mocking the former health secretary’s politicking.
“He clearly wants to win,” Tindall said, adding that Hancock was constantly pointing his voter number T-shirt at the camera. “Once a politician, always a politician. Always looking for votes.
Fellow politicians have been less enthusiastic than the voting public. When it was announced that Hancock would appear, his fellow lawmakers, including many from his own party, appointed and suspended him as a Conservative member of parliament.
His success seems to have done nothing to ease his anger. Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, Cabinet Minister Mark Harper said: “I don’t think serving Members of Parliament should be on reality shows.
“As well as they are doing, I still think they should be doing the job that they are paid a good salary for, which is representing their constituents.”
Announcing that he was going to “step up”, Australian comedian Adam Hills, host of the comedy show “The Last Leg”, went to the Hancock constituency in eastern England last weekend and met with the locals to listen to their problems.
“I think I can do a better job in a week than he’s done so far,” Hills said on the show.
Still, a political comeback for Hancock isn’t out of the question. Conservative lawmaker Nadine Dorries was suspended in 2012 for appearing on the same show. Nine years later, then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed her to her cabinet.