MATT Hancock has been granted special permission to communicate with the outside world when he’s on I'm A Celeb – and says he'll donate some of the cash to a local hospice.
The politician, who had to resign after The Sun exposed him for cheating on his wife during the pandemic, will be the 12th star to go into the jungle, The Sun revealed this morning.
Ten celebrities will go into I'm A Celeb this Sunday when the new series starts.
But Matt, 44, will be one of two latecomers who'll go into the camp.
ITV has relaxed rules just for the MP, so he can communicate with staff if there's a constituency emergency in his West Suffolk patch.
And Hancock has pledged to donate some of the cash he makes on the show to a local hospice.
This morning Tory Chief Whip Simon Hart confirmed Mr Hancock has had the whip suspended for abandoning the Commons to do reality TV.
He 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.”
Sources close to the former Health Secretary hit back at critics, saying it was a great way to raise awareness for his dyslexia campaign.
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A political ally close to Hancock 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 12million Brits who tune in every single night."
The ally added that Hancock was "flattered and naturally curious" when first approached by ITV.
However, he originally turned down the opportunity "because of the instability government was facing at the time".
Now, with Rishi Sunak in charge, Hancock believes the timing is finally right.
His ally said: "Matt has always believed in communicating directly with the people he represents – whether that’s getting out and pounding the streets in West Suffolk, through all sorts of media or via those press conferences.
"There are many ways to do the job of being an MP. Whether he's in camp for one-day or three weeks, there are very few places people will be able to see a politician as they really are.
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"Where better to show the human side of those who make these decisions than with the most watched programme on TV? "Politicians like Matt must go to where the people are – particularly those who are politically disengaged.
"Matt's of the view that we must embrace popular culture. Rather than looking down on reality TV, we should see it for what it is – a powerful tool to get our message heard by younger generations."
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