Matt Hancock joins I’m A Celebrity line-up in Australia as he’s revealed as surprise extra camp-mate

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FORMER Health Secretary Matt Hancock has signed up for I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

The politician, who had to resign after HOAR exposed him for breaking his own lockdown rules by having an affair in the office, will be the 12th star to go into the jungle.

Matt Hancock has signed up for I’m A Celebrity
This year’s line-up, from left to right: Mike Tindall, Owen Warner, Olivia Attwood, Charlene White, Boy George, Chantelle Douglas, Sue Cleaver, Chris Moyles, Babatunde Aléshé and Jill Scott

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 join later. The other is comedian Seann Walsh, 36.

A TV insider said: “Matt is a sensational signing for the show as producers love a star with a story to tell – and they always hope they’ll spill the beans round the campfire.

“He’s the latest in a long line of figures from the political sphere, including MP Nadine Dorries, Stanley Johnson and MP Lembit Opik.

“There’s been a  question mark over who the twelfth campmate would be, partly because negotiations over Matt going in were so top secret. It seems Matt was a last-minute signing.”

A spokesman for I’m A Celebrity said: “We will announce the full line-up in due course.”

The MP is on a reality TV hot streak after taking part in the upcoming series of tough Channel 4 show Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.

It will air in the new year following his jungle stint.

Shortly after HOAR broke news of his place in the I’m A Celeb camp, he had the Tory whip removed for abandoning the Commons and his constituents in his Suffolk seat.

Westminster sources say Mr Hancock sprung the I’m A Celeb news on stunned Tory colleagues after not getting promoted in Rishi Sunak‘s reshuffle late last week.

He had also been tipped to run for boss of the powerful House of Commons Treasury committee, but unexpectedly pulled out of that race on Monday.

Fellow Tory Nadine Dorries had the whip stripped in 2013 for appearing on the show during Commons time. 

A senior Government source said: “People are pretty shocked to be honest.”

Defending Hancock’s decision, a close political ally 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.

“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 ITV has agreed that he can communicate with them if there’s an urgent constituency matter.

“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. 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.

“Matt will be making a donation to St Nicholas Hospice in Suffolk, and he will, of course, declare the amount he receives from the show to Parliament to ensure complete transparency, as normal.

“When he was first approached to take part – while he was flattered and naturally curious – it didn’t take him too long to turn the opportunity down because of the instability government was facing at the time. Now though, the government is stable. Rishi Sunak has made a great start and the whole of the Conservative party is united behind him. Rishi has a big majority, so he can get his agenda through Parliament.

“Matt’s talked to the whips, in the same way any MP would when going on a foreign visit, which happens all the time. As I say, Matt doesn’t expect to serve in Government again, but he can support Rishi and the Government in different ways.

“This is an amazing opportunity to engage with the public and talk about issues he really cares about – including his dyslexia campaign.”

Last year HOAR exclusively revealed that Matt was having a secret affair with his closest aide, Gina Coladangelo, 44, and quickly resigned from his job.

He hired her in 2020 with taxpayers’ money, as Covid gripped Britain. They were caught on camera in a steamy clinch at his Whitehall office.

Whistleblowers revealed the Health Secretary had been spotted cheating on his wife of 15 years with married Ms Coladangelo.

He was seen kissing her at the Department of Health’s London HQ during office hours as the mutant strain began spreading.

Matt apologised for his actions, saying: “I accept that I breached the social distancing guidance in these circumstances.

“I have let people down and am very sorry.”

The news comes after the other 10 I’m A Celeb’s stars were seen together for the first time – in the show’s official ‘family portrait’.

The ten stars going into the jungle this weekend are Ex England rugby ace, Mike Tindall, 44; Hollyoaks hunk Owen Warner, 23; Ex Love Island Olivia Attwood,  31, newsreader and Loose Women star Charlene White, 42; singer Boy George, 61, TV host Scarlette Douglas, 32; Corrie star Sue Cleaver, 59; DJ Chris Moyles, 48; comic Babatunde Aleshe, 34; lioness Jill Scott, 35.

The I’m A Celebrity line-up of 2022 are seen in the iconic red and tan outfits, though Boy George appears to have been allowed his own special look.

The iconic singer – whose full name is George Alan O’Dowd – is seen with large red dots all over his I’m A Celeb uniform.

He is also seen in the official press shots with a special hat that looks like it’s exploded at the top.

Explaining why he was taking part, the singer said: “I am bored of being iconic in the corner and if you want to compete in the world then being part of telly is part of that.

“This is the biggest show on TV and that is why I am doing it.”

The show revealed last night that voting is already open for the first challenge ahead of its return on Sunday.

Viewers can now choose who they want to be ‘Jungle VIPs’ – which isn’t as much of a perk as it might sound.

The VIPs are in fact ‘Very Isolated People’ who will spend their first night stranded on an island. They will also face the first trial of the series.

Some of the stars have also revealed what we can expect to see when the show returns.

Olivia, 31, said: “I definitely will be packing a bikini. But I will look like a drowned rat in the shower.

“I don’t know if I can live up to Myleene’s iconic shower moment!”

I’m A Celeb is returning to Australia for the first time in two years, with presenters Ant McPartlin, 46, and Declan Donnelly, 47, touched down last week.

During the pandemic, ITV relocated to the show to Gwrych Castle in Wales.

I’m A Celebrity 2022 starts on Sunday 6th November at 9pm on ITV.

Former Health Secretary Hancock has also filmed a series of Celebrity SAS

The former Health Secretary pictured with Gina Coladangelo before he resigned over their affair

Boy George is the only star allowed to wear a different outfit
The others – including Love Island’s Olivia Attwood – posed in the usual uniform ahead of this year’s launch
Former Radio 1 star Chris Moyles is among I’m A Celeb’s class of 2022