Matt Hancock will donate part of his I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! fee to charity, Metro.co.uk has learned.
The former Health Secretary is the 12th and final star to have signed up for the 2022 series – due to launch this Sunday – and completes the line-up, which also boasts of radio presenter Chris Moyles and singer Boy George.
A political ally close to Mr Hancock has revealed that he intends to support St Nicholas Hospice Care with his pay cheque for taking part, a charity he raised almost £8,000 for at last year’s London Marathon.
‘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,’ a source told us.
Mr Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, was suspended with immediate effect from the Conservative party moments after it was announced he will appear on the ITV show.
The politician’s ally defended his honour, insisting 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,’ they told Metro.co.uk.
‘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.’
According to the source, it didn’t take long for Mr Hancock to agree to take part in the show 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.’
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! returns on Sunday at 9pm on ITV.