‘I don’t expect to serve in Government again’: FIRST LOOK at Matt Hancock on I’m A Celebrity as he vows to ‘prove politicians are humans too’ and insists he’s ‘had a lot of support from MPs’ while making his jungle debut with comedian Seann Walsh
- The former Health Secretary, 44, will be seen for the first time in camp on Wednesday night’s episode
- His entrance, along with comic Seann, 36, was brought forward after Olivia Attwood was forced to leave
Matt Hancock has revealed he’s going on I’m A Celebrity to ‘prove politicians are humans too’ and connect with a younger audience, after his decision to enter the jungle sparked a fierce backlash from Westminster and the public.
In the first images of the former Health Secretary in his jungle garb, the 44-year-old beamed as he prepared to make his show debut alongside comedian Seann Walsh – scenes that will air on Wednesday’s show.
Despite political insiders telling MailOnline that Matt’s decision to go on I’m a Celebrity – and its reputed £400,000 pay day – will end his frontline political career, he has insisted that he’s received plenty of support from his fellow MPs, although admitted he doesn’t expect to serve in Government again.
Matt, who was forced to quit Boris Johnson’s Government after he was caught flouting his own Covid lockdown rules with his married aide Gina Coladangelo, also revealed that he’s ‘looking forward’ to showing the public a different side to him after his time in the cabinet.
Ready for the jungle! I’m A Celebrity have unveiled the first look at MP Matt Hancock (left) and comedian Seann Walsh as they prepare to make their show debut during Wednesday’s episode
I’m A Celebrity! Get Me Out Of Here… returned to the Australian outback for the first time in three years on Sunday night as 10 new campmates – including Boy George and Chris Moyles – arrived for the latest series of the gruelling ITV series.
After isolating for a week at designer boutique property in New South Wales, Matt is getting ready to throw himself into all aspects of jungle life – although he does have his reservations when it comes to dealing with snakes.
Explaining his decision to appear on the show Matt, who is MP for West Suffolk, explained: ‘I don’t expect to serve in Government again but there are lots of ways you can communicate and engage with people.
‘When I got approached to take part, I did think long and hard about it but one of the reasons that I felt able to say yes was because the IAC team have put in place a system so I can be reached at any point on any urgent constituency matters.
‘Lots of people have a view on me from being Health Secretary in the pandemic dealing with some very difficult issues, but that’s not the whole story. I am looking forward to throwing myself into it all like I do everything in life. You can’t hide anything in the jungle, you see somebody warts and all.’
Cast: (L-R) Mike Tindall, Owen Warner, Olivia Attwood, Charlene White, Boy George, Scarlette Douglas, Sue Cleaver, Chris Moyles, Babatúndé Aléshé and Jill Scott were unveiled as the original I’m A Celebrity 2022 lineup
Going on to insist he has received a lot of support despite having his Conservative Party whip suspended, Matt added: ‘I informed the Whip and I gave my reasons. I have had a lot of supportive messages from people who can see what I am trying to do to show that politicians are people too.’
Despite his claims, Matt was publicly condemned by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak this week, who said the MP will alienate voters in his West Suffolk constituents more than 10,000 miles from his ITV jungle camp, saying: ‘I was very disappointed with Matt’s decision.’
While he may be facing the wrath of his political party, Matt insisted his biggest fear is coming up close and personal with real life snakes.
‘I have never come across a snake at close quarters and so I am pretty worried about anything to do with snakes,’ he said. ‘I am not claustrophobic or at least I haven’t been found to be but that’s the thing about I’m A Celebrity – it is the unknown.
‘I’ve watched the show over the years, I love how it gets down to the essence of people but it’s really entertaining as well.’
What political storm? Matt has revealed he’s going on I’m A Celebrity to ‘prove politicians are humans too’ and connect with a younger audience, after his decision to enter the jungle sparked a fierce backlash from Westminster and the public
When quizzed on whether he thinks his colleagues in Parliament and the British public will be on speed dial voting for him to take part in the trials, Matt confessed: ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up doing some of the trials! I am hoping I can win some stars for the camp, but most of all I am looking forward to being myself.’
While he’s hoping to win over the public during his time in the jungle, Matt admitted he’s ‘not expecting’ to be crowned King of the jungle?
‘It would be the icing on the cake and that would be wonderful,’ he revealed. ‘But I am not expecting it. My family are very supportive of me taking part on I’m A Celebrity. They have supported me doing some bonkers things like when I tried to get to the North Pole and in my public life as well.
‘I think you will learn things about yourself. You have all that time to think about what is important.’
I’M A MP… GET ME IN THE JUNGLE: MATT’S QUICK-FIRE Q&A
Biggest phobias? Snakes. I don’t thankfully suffer from claustrophobia – or I think I don’t!
Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle? Politicians are people too and it will be nice for people to see me as me. We are human too.
What will your role be in the camp? I like to muck in, and I think I will be collecting a lot of firewood. I like cooking too.
And despite jungle veteran Lembit Opik insisting that Matt is ‘looking for a change of career’ by entering I’m A Celebrity, the MP insisted that the first thing he’ll do upon leaving the jungle is return to Suffolk to hold a surgery with his constituents.
He explained: ‘We will take it from there. There are lots of different ways to communicate with the public and we (politicians) are wrong if we think you can only do that on the traditional political shows where you are mainly only talking to people who take an active interest in politics.
‘It’s important we engage with everyone including young people in who our politicians are and this programme is a good way to do that. I am looking forward to it.’
Speaking in a teaser clip aired on Tuesday’s episode, Matt revealed: ‘This experience will be an adventure. When I’m in camp people will just see the real me. Survival in the jungle is a good metaphor for the world I work in.
‘People will see me warts and all. See the human side of the guy behind the podium. I don’t think I’ve got any fears or phobias, but I’m about to find out!’
During his time on the show he is also hoping to raise awareness for dyslexia, and a spokesperson said this in a statement before he headed to the jungle: ‘The second reading of Matt’s Dyslexia Screening and Teacher Training Bill is just days after I’m A Celebrity… finishes.
‘By going on the show, Matt hopes to raise the profile of his dyslexia campaign and will use the platform to talk about an issue he really cares about in front of millions of people. Matt is determined that no child should leave primary school not knowing if they have dyslexia.
‘Matt has been working on constituency matters this week and show producers have agreed that Matt can communicate with his team if there’s an urgent constituency matter while he’s on the show.
‘As soon as Matt’s time in camp is up, he will return to Suffolk to hold surgeries where he will catch up with his constituents and discuss matters of concern.
‘Matt will be making a donation to St Nicholas Hospice in Suffolk, and causes supporting dyslexia – including the British Dyslexia Association, off the back of his appearance. He will, of course, declare the amount he receives from the show to Parliament to ensure complete transparency, as normal.’
Earlier this week, the Daily Mail exclusively revealed that Matt was given ‘special treatment’ ahead of his jungle stint by being granted permission to use his phone and laptop during his isolation period.
Matt, who lost the Tory whip when it was announced he had signed up, was allowed to speak to his personal advisor via Zoom despite his co-stars having their technology confiscated.
A source said: ‘Matt has been given a different arrangement during his isolation period to the other contestants. He has been allowed his phone and laptop so he can carry on working and keep in touch with his constituents.’
The Daily Mail also revealed that Matt’s girlfriend Gina Coladangelo, 45, will be flying out to Australia to support him on the show.
Controversy: Seann, 36, is also hoping to change the public’s perception of him after the Mock The Week star made headlines during his 2018 stint on Strictly Come Dancing when he was caught kissing his married professional partner Katya Jones
Support: He has shied away from the spotlight in the years since and admitted he nearly turned down the chance to go into the jungle until being persuaded by his girlfriend Grace Adderley, who is pregnant with their first child
Matt isn’t the only new arrival set to make their jungle debut on Wednesday, with comedian Seann, 36, also hoping to change the public’s perception of him.
In 2018, the Mock The Week star made headlines during his stint on Strictly Come Dancing when he was caught kissing his married professional partner Katya Jones.
Seann’s five-year relationship with actress Rebecca Humphries, 35, who played Carol Thatcher in The Crown, came crashing down shortly afterwards and was reportedly the indirect reason behind the divorce of Katya and husband of six years, Neil Jones.
STRICTLY NO PLAYING AROUND: SEANN’S QUICK-FIRE Q&A
Biggest phobias? I am not too pleased about rats being in there but I am just trying to pretend it is not happening!
Biggest misconception you want to dispel? People have voiced their feelings about me and I am hoping they will see I am very different. I want to create new memories.
What will your role in camp be? I am a great listener. I can’t cook but if someone would like to teach me, then I will give it a go.
Dream campmate? Lee Evans, anyone from Blink-182 or Boy George. My mum took me to see him at Wembley and he wore a satellite dish as a hat!
Following the Strictly kiss incident, Seann’s ex Rebecca released an impassioned statement in which she revealed he called her ‘psycho’ and ‘nuts’ for questioning his friendship with Katya, who he kissed on Rebecca’s birthday – before the photos were made public.
He has shied away from the spotlight in the years since and admitted he nearly turned down the chance to go into the jungle until being persuaded by his girlfriend Grace Adderley, who is pregnant with their first child.
Seann explained: ‘Grace is the main reason why I am doing I’m A Celebrity. As you can imagine I was very scared after the last time I was on a big show because the fallout was not something you would want to go back to.
‘Grace talked me into doing it. She convinced me it was the wrong attitude to have not doing it because I feared what people would think, but to do it because I would have a wonderful time.’
He added: ‘People have voiced their feelings about me and I am hoping they will see I am very different. I want to create new memories.’
Despite his initial reservations, Seann confessed that he now ‘can’t wait’ to enter the jungle, reasoning: ‘The idea of sitting around the fire with people who have probably won gold medals, pop stars and actors putting the world to rights is exciting.’
One thing he isn’t looking forward to is taking on the challenges, admitting his biggest fear will be facing rats.
He explained: ‘I will take on the challenge but I will be terrified! I am not naturally a brave man but my tactic is to pretend it is not happening until we must do whatever it is.
‘You don’t get snakes in London so I don’t know if I am afraid of them but I am not too pleased about rats being in there!’
Asked what he will miss most, Seann said he is actively looking forward to a digital detox but will miss Grace and our dog. Grace is over the moon though as she gets to come to Australia!’
Speaking in a teaser clip aired on Tuesday’s episode, Seann revealed: ‘It seems that every single person that does the jungle says it’s the best experience of their life – so I’m up for that.
‘I’m up for the best experience of my life. Who wouldn’t be? Over the years, I’ve read a lot of things about myself and you know, it does hurt. I’d love for it to be a kind of new start. And just maybe change opinions, that would be really nice.’
Withdrawn: Matt and Seann’s camp debut has been rushed earlier than anticipated to save the ITV show hours after Olivia Attwood, 31, was forced to leave on medical grounds
Matt and Seann’s camp debut has been rushed earlier than anticipated to save the ITV show hours after Olivia Attwood, 31, was forced to leave on medical grounds.
The Love Island star, 30, was forced to leave the Australian jungle after just 24 hours on medical grounds.
She’s the second contestant in the show’s history to leave after a day – with 2005 campmate Elaine Jordan lasting the same amount of time.
A source close to Olivia told MailOnline she’s ‘absolutely devastated’ her time has been cut short after she became the first ex-Love Island contestant chosen by ITV bosses to star on I’m A Celeb.
I’m A Celebrity airs every night at 9PM on ITV
I’M A CELEBRITY 2022: THE FULL LINEUP
CLAIM TO FAME: Legendary pop star
PHOBIAS: Being scared
MISSING ANY BIG OCCASIONS? No, I am going straight into the jungle from playing at various festivals and gigs
ROLE IN THE CAMP: In-house dietician reassuring everyone that they will be ok on the jungle diet. And entertainer – I will sing!
BEST ATTRIBUTE: I am a very positive person and I don’t bear any grudges
DREAM CAMPMATE: It would be funny if my ex, Jon Moss, comes on the programme -but I don’t think that will happen!
CLAIM TO FAME: Radio DJ
PHOBIAS: I am petrified of heights. I ended up carrying the bags when we took my girlfriend’s niece once to Go Ape as I am so petrified!
MISSING ANY BIG OCCASIONS? A friend’s birthday, a wedding, and Leeds United matches
ROLE IN THE CAMP: Entertainer. Hopefully I can help shorten everyone’s boredom.
BEST ATTRIBUTE: Hiding food! I am going to fly out early and sneak into the jungle and hide pot noodles everywhere, then I will be everyone’s best friend!
DREAM CAMPMATE: Ant and Dec…let’s see how they cope for 24 hours!
CLAIM TO FAME: Playing Eileen Grimshaw in Coronation Street
PHOBIAS: Don’t be ridiculous! I am not going to admit to what I fear most!
MISSING ANY BIG OCCASIONS? Coronation Street and we are expecting another grandchild any day, so hopefully it will arrive before I fly out to Australia.
ROLE IN THE CAMP: I will be more of a mum – that is where I will naturally fit.
BEST ATTRIBUTE: I can cook and I am a good listener, so hopefully I will be a friendly ear for everyone.
DREAM CAMPMATE: Good Morning Britain’s Richard Arnold. He is my TV husband and it would be lovely to have an ally in camp!
CLAIM TO FAME: Presenter of A Place In The Sun
PHOBIAS: Spiders. There is no point in lying about it! I’ve got an irrational fear about them
MISSING ANY BIG OCCASIONS? Just a holiday which I can postpone
ROLE IN THE CAMP: Mum, cook and morale booster. I always like to look at the positive side in life
BEST ATTRIBUTE: I can cook and I will be good at making sure everything is tidy in camp
DREAM CAMPMATE: Mo Gilligan. He is hilarious and I totally fancy him!
CLAIM TO FAME: Comedian
PHOBIAS: I am scared of absolutely everything. Snakes, rats – I am fearful of them all and I am dreading the trials
MISSING ANY BIG OCCASIONS? I was going on tour but we’ve postponed it now until next year
ROLE IN THE CAMP: Tension breaker. If I can break tension anywhere it starts up in the camp, then I will do that. We don’t need to be bickering as it will be a first-time experience for everyone
BEST ATTRIBUTE: Hopefully I will bring some humour to the camp
DREAM CAMPMATE: I am a big Arsenal fan and so any ex-Arsenal player would be great. I am looking forward to chatting to Ant & Dec about football
CLAIM TO FAME: Comedian
PHOBIAS: I am not too pleased about rats being in there but I am just trying to pretend it is not happening!
MISSING ANY BIG OCCASIONS? No, I am really looking forward to taking part in this show
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION YOU WANT TO DISPEL IN THE JUNGLE: People have voiced their feelings about me and I am hoping they will see I am very different. I want to create new memories
ROLE IN THE CAMP: I am a great listener. I can’t cook but if someone would like to teach me, then I will give it a go
BEST ATTRIBUTE: I don’t want to put myself down but if my friends were to answer this question, they would say there isn’t much Seann can do! I am not really bringing too much to the table which is why I am a good listener!
DREAM CAMPER: Lee Evans, anyone from Blink-182 or Boy George. My mum took me to see him at Wembley and he wore a satellite dish as a hat!
CLAIM TO FAME: Rugby Union player and married to Princess Anne’s daughter Zara Tindall
PHOBIAS: I haven’t admitted to having any phobias but in a weird way, I am looking forward to taking part in the trials!
MISSING ANY BIG OCCASIONS? My podcast series and the rugby Internationals this autumn
ROLE IN THE CAMP: Morning motivator. I would like to see everyone get on well and us all have a great experience
BEST ATTRIBUTE: I am a positive person
DREAM CAMPMATE: Samuel L Jackson would be cool. He has lived the life!
CLAIM TO FAME: Playing Romeo Nightingale in Hollyoaks
MISSING ANY BIG OCCASIONS? I am a big fan of football so I will miss watching the start of the World Cup
ROLE IN THE CAMP: Entertainer and games coordinator
BEST ATTRIBUTE: It is definitely not my cooking skills or brains!
DREAM CAMPMATE: Any of the Leicester City starting 11!
CLAIM TO FAME: ITV newsreader and Loose Women anchor
PHOBIAS: I am not sure what my fear factor will be because I’ve never had rodents, spiders and snakes crawling all over me!
MISSING ANY BIG OCCASIONS? My children’s annual school ball which I am gutted about
ROLE IN THE CAMP: Mum and cook. I don’t mind falling into that position
BEST ATTRIBUTE: I like to listen and talk. I love learning about people and I have a natural curiosity for people
DREAM CAMPMATE: Colin Murray and Richard Osman
CLAIM TO FAME: Retired England Lioness
PHOBIAS: I don’t like rats and the thought of being underground fills me with fear!
MISSING ANY BIG OCCASIONS? The Men’s World Cup. I am going to find it weird not being able to know how the men are getting on in the tournament. Hopefully they will still be in the tournament when I come out of the jungle
ROLE IN THE CAMP: Helping hand. I like to help people if they aren’t having a good day
BEST ATTRIBUTE: Hard worker. I will always find a way to add value. I am also very honest
DREAM CAMPMATE: Another sports person would be great as it would be someone to bounce ideas off.
CLAIM TO FAME: Love Island star
PHOBIAS: I hate the dark so I’m keen to avoid any challenges in the darkness
MISSING ANY BIG OCCASIONS? No, had the show been on air any later, I could have missed my sister’s wedding
ROLE IN THE CAMP: Clown. I was always the class clown at school and I love having a laugh
BEST ATTRIBUTE: I don’t take myself seriously and I have got a good sense of humour
DREAM CAMPMATE: A pop legend like Dolly Parton who has amazing stories to tell
CLAIM TO FAME: Politician
PHOBIAS: Snakes. I don’t thankfully suffer from claustrophobia –or I think I don’t!
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION YOU WANT TO DISPEL IN THE JUNGLE: Politicians are people too and it will be nice for people to see me as me. We are human too
ROLE IN THE CAMP: I like to muck in, and I think I will be collecting a lot of firewood. I like cooking too
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