Matt Hancock ‘to miss out on some Bushtucker trials as he battles case of trench foot’

2 November 2022, 13:31 | Updated: 2 November 2022, 15:55

A petition to have Matt Hancock kicked off the show has secured nearly 20,000 signatures
A petition to have Matt Hancock kicked off the show has secured nearly 20,000 signatures. Picture: The Sun/Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Matt Hancock is set to miss out on some Bushtucker trials in the I’m A Celeb jungle as he’s suffering from a case of trench foot, it emerged today.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

According to the Sun, the former health secretary, who quit in shame over an affair with an aide during Covid lockdown, has been struggling with the condition, which he picked up while filming Celebrity SAS Who Dares Wins.

"Water-based tasks or swimming trials would be bad news for his feet," a source told the paper.

Viewers have made it clear they want him to do as many of the nasty challenges as possible and the Shadow Health Secretary told LBC earlier today that he’s expecting a cross party response to make sure he ‘gets his fill of creepy crawlies.’

Mr Hancock's former aide and lover Gina Coladangelo will fly out to Australia within days to see him, it also emerged today.

She is understood to be planning to fly out and will arrive there next week, according to the Mail Online.

Anger is growing over the former Health Secretary’s appearance on the show, with 20,000 people calling for him not to appear.

He quit government after he was caught flouting his own Covid lockdown rules by kissing married Ms Coladangelo in his office.

It was revealed on Tuesday that the former Health Secretary would be joining the star-studded line-up, becoming the twelfth person to enter the jungle.

But the move has sparked fury among both MPs and the public, with Mr Hancock losing the Tory whip over the decision to take part.

Landing in Brisbane this morning ahead of a week in isolation, Mr Hancock denied he had 'lost his marbles'.

He defended his appearance saying "as an MP, my first priority is to my constituents. I have agreed with the show's producers that I can be reached at any point on any urgent constituency matters."

Campaign group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice - which is formed of over 6,000 people personally bereaved by the pandemic - have now come together to make a stand.

They have called on ITV to stop Matt Hancock appearing on the show, saying: "Reverse your decision to bring Matt Hancock onto I'm a Celebrity.

"His appearance will cause real pain and anguish to those of us who lost loved ones to Covid-19."

As of Wednesday afternoon - less than 24 hours after its launch - the petition had 18,020 signatures.

Read more: Cross-party alliance to ensure Matt Hancock undergoes worst I'm A Celeb jungle experience

Read more: Matt Hancock is entering the I'm A Celeb jungle to be 'where the people are' and not in 'ivory' Westminster towers

Tory and Labour MPs will unite to ensure Matt Hancock jungle hardship, vows Wes Streeting

Explaining why they had launched the petition, the group said: "Matt Hancock isn’t a ‘celebrity’, he’s the Health Secretary who oversaw the UK having one of the highest death tolls in the world from Covid-19 whilst breaking his own lockdown rules.

"The fact that he is trying to cash in on his terrible legacy, rather than showing some humility or seeking to reflect on the appalling consequences of his time in Government says it all about the sort of his person he is.

"Families were ripped apart by Matt Hancock’s actions, and turning on the TV to see him being paraded around as a joke is sickening.

"If he had any respect for families who lost loved ones to Covid-19, he would be sharing his private emails with the Covid Inquiry, not eating bugs on TV.

"Then again, perhaps if those emails came to light no TV station would touch him with a barge pole.

"ITV should do the decent thing and remove him from the programme.

"Over 200,000 people lost their lives to Covid-19 across the UK.

"Matt Hancock was at the very centre of decisions such as locking down late, allowing large scale sporting events to go ahead as the virus ran rampant and failed to get our healthcare workers the PPE they needed.

"On top of that he was fired after breaking the rules he helped set.

"His profiteering and shameless search for publicity in the run up to his book launch is another insult to already grieving families."

What Matt Hancock could look like in the jungle.
What Matt Hancock could look like in the jungle. Picture: ITV/UK Parliament

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting told LBC on Wednesday that Labour and Tory MPs would unite to ensure Matt Hancock gets "his fill of creepy crawlies".

Mr Streeting said: "You could not pay me.

"I mean, firstly politicians are not celebrities. We are people in a privileged position of trust and responsibility, and we should take our job seriously.

"And think I Matt Hancock has failed that test.

"But also, there is no way you would get me eating any of that stuff or crawling around near those creepy crawlies.

"But I can tell you that, on a unifying cross party note, every Conservative and Labour MP will be phoning in to make sure that Matt Hancock gets his fill of creepy crawlies.

"I think that is the least he deserves for abandoning his responsibilities, his constituents and his country."

The 2022 line-up
The 2022 line-up. Picture: ITV

In a bid to defend his decision to appear on the show, Mr Hancock said he was entering because he wants to be "where the people are" and not "sitting in ivory towers" in Westminster.

Writing for The Sun, he said that some people might think he has "lost his marbles" or "had one too many drinks", but ultimately, he said, he is making the sacrifice because he wants to talk to people who are not always interested in politics.

"It’s as clear as day that politicians like me must go to where the people are — particularly those who are politically disengaged," he said.

"We must wake up and 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.

"In fact, I think it’s patronising to hear some say reality TV is beneath a politician. "We all know that many people are turned off by the ­aggressive ‘gotcha’ questioning and insider presumptions of political news.”

Mr Hancock is not the first politician to appear on reality TV - Nadine Dorries starred in 2012's I'm a Celeb and Ed Balls infamously took part in Strictly Come Dancing.