Matt Hancock’s career and controversies: From Gina Coladangelo affair to I’m a Celebrity

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I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! 2022 has cast the show’s most controversial contestant to date: Matt Hancock.

The politician is taking part in this year’s edition of the long-running ITV reality series, after reportedly being offered £400,000.

It’s far from his first TV appearance. Over the past few years, the Conservative MP has been on telly many times – but usually for Covid briefings. As former health secretary, he was one of the faces plastered all over the newspapers during the pandemic.

He was criticised over elements of the government’s response to Covid, and in June 2021, found himself publicly disgraced after admitting to violating his own social distancing rules when his affair with aide Gina Coladangelo was exposed.

Hancock became a Tory MP for West Suffolk in 2010, and was appointed health secreary under Theresa May’s Cabinet reshuffle in 2018. After May’s resignation, he announced his plans to stand for party leadership, but soon withdrew from the race, and pledged his allegiance to Boris Johnson.

After his affair with Coladangelo was exposed, he separated from his wife of 15 years, an osteopath called Martha Hoyer Millar, with whom he has three children.

Hancock is said to have been asked to do I’m a Celebrity throughout the year, but declined until Rishi Sunak was appointed PM after Liz Truss’s resignation.

However, Sunak was quick to condemn Hancock’s decision, with a spokesperson stating: “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.”

Hancock was swiftly suspended as an MP by his party after news broke he was joining the cast of I’m a Celeb.

Since Hancock arrived on the show, the public have voted for him to do many grisly trials – from eating animal genitalia to being locked in a coffin with 30 snakes. His participation in the programme has led to more than 1,000 Ofcom complaints.

Notable moments from his time on the series so far include him telling his campmates he is “looking for forgiveness” and giving his thoughts on former PM Truss.

I’m a Celebrity airs nightly on ITV from 9pm.