Former MP Lembit Öpik says public will 'punish' Matt Hancock on I'm a Celeb

1 November 2022, 19:33

Lembit Öpik defended Matt Hancock's decision to appear on I’m A Celebrity… Get Met Out of Here!
Lembit Öpik defended Matt Hancock's decision to appear on I’m A Celebrity… Get Met Out of Here! Picture: LBC

By Kieran Kelly

Ex-MP and I'm a Celeb contestant Lembit Öpik has said the public will "punish" former health secretary Matt Hancock by voting for him to do gruesome trials on the show.

Mr Hancock was announced as the game show's twelfth contestant, causing him to be stripped of the Tory whip. His decision to appear on the ITV gameshow has prompted a furious backlash and his friend Öpik said the public will now vote for him to do gruesome trials.

Appearing on LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr alongside Christine Hamilton, Mr Öpik said: "First of all, he will be chosen, I'd say, for trials as the public - those who don't like him - vote for him to be punished in the trials. If he does well, they'll stop voting for him.

"I completely back Matt Hancock's decision to do this and had I been an MP in 2010 I still would have done it because it's not for us to tell him he's wrong.

"It's for his constituents to decide that he shouldn't be going in and that's decided in two years at the general election. In the meantime, good luck to him. He's also had a pretty rough ride.

"How long is he meant to suffer? …I know him well, he is a nice enough bloke, you know him, he is not a bad person. He's made some mistakes, but they're not really out of the ordinary mistakes for a human being."

Read More: Matt Hancock loses Tory whip as he joins Boy George and Olivia Attwood in the jungle for I'm A Celebrity

Mr Öpik then asked: "What's the difference between doing that and doing something like 'Have I got news for you' or a newspaper review?"

Lembit Opik tells Christine Hamilton to 'lighten up'

While Lembit defended Hancock, Christine Hamilton - who has also appeared on the gameshow - slammed the former health secretary's decision to appear on the show.

She said: "I found it absolutely astonishing...the Covid victims, if I can call them that, are quite rightly up in arms about what he did."

"The taxpayers have the right to be annoyed. He is paid to be a member of Parliament. He's not paid to trot off to Australia for three or four weeks."

Andrew Marr has seen has seen two sides to Westminster today

Reflecting on Mr Hancock's decision, Andrew Marr said: "Mr Hancock, on the other hand clearly believes that his constituents would much prefer to see him being ritually humiliated by Ant and Dec, while eating grubs and animal genitalia.

"And who’s to say he’s wrong? Andy Drummond, deputy chairman of the MP’s West Suffolk Conservatives, helpfully entered the debate by saying HE was looking forward to seeing Mr Hancock eating a kangaroo’s penis.

"As are we all – although I do hope the kangaroo, If not Mr Hancock, has gone to a better place by the time he does it."