Matt Hancock has made a ‘big mistake’ after signing up to I’m A Celebrity for ‘selfish reasons’, according to former Conservative MP Edwina Currie.
The former health secretary made his jungle debut alongside Seann Walsh on the popular ITV show this week. But while Matt is hoping the stint will help show his human side, fellow politician Edwina disagrees as she insists the ‘public will have their revenge’.
Speaking on behalf of Slingo, Edwina opens up on why she thinks Matt will be treated like an ‘outsider’ in the camp, who will give the politician a ‘grilling’, and why she thinks a ‘shouting match’ could be on the cards for Matt.
What are your thoughts on this year’s line-up?
“I think this is a brilliant series – it’s going to be a classic! We’ve got some nice eye candy in there for us ladies, like Owen Warner. He’s great without his shirt! It’s great to get Boy George in there and Chris Moyles is quite a character, an intelligent and articulate man.
“Mike Tindall is turning out to be a cuddly teddy bear, which is wonderful. I would like to see Jill Scott getting an opportunity to shine as camp leader because she’s lovely. Babatunde is also fabulous! The way he overcame his fear of heights was very genuine.
“Matt Hancock’s appearance is going to be interesting, as the best thing that this show does is skewering egos. He’s walking around thinking he’s going to be shown as a normal human being, but normal human beings don’t become politicians, and normal human beings don’t go into the jungle.
“The Prime Minister said he was disappointed, which is a sweet way of saying what a div, what a mistake! He immediately had the whip withdrawn, which means he’s not sitting as a Conservative MP in Parliament at the moment and he won’t be when he gets back.
“He’s going to find that many of his friends in parliament are going to be very angry with him. He’s let his side down. If he wanted to rebuild a career, he’s only 44! He’s young enough to do all sorts of things in parliament, which could give him future opportunities. If he thinks it’s just a job, he should go and do something else!
“I think he has 100% joined the show for selfish reasons to try and win back the public. However, what it’s really going to show is his great big ego and a lot of foolishness. There’s an illusion that being on TV and being watched by all these people is automatically a good thing [laughs].”
What do you make of Matt Hancock joining the show?
“It’s a sensational signing, but for him it’s a big mistake. I said the same thing when Nadine Dorries went in, which is you’ve got a very well paid job already and that is to look after your consistency. You cannot do that on the other side of the world. Matt Hancock said he’s made arrangements to be kept informed, but no, he hasn’t.
“He’s signed up to give away his phone and any form of communications. Once you’re in there, you’re in there and you have to rely on the I’m A Celebrity team.
“They will inform him if something horrible has happened at home, but if there’s flooding in parts of his consistency, Matt isn’t going to be able to see to that. He’s walking out on the job he’s already got, which is an important and worthwhile job, in order to do something that is completely trivial and unnecessary.
“He’s doing it because he thinks it will improve his image with the public. If he wants to promote issues like dyslexia, he’s already got a platform and it’s called the House of Commons!
“I’m quite hostile with him being there, I think it’s a mistake. You will also find that the public will have their revenge. They don’t often get to direct darts at the full body of an MP or politician. I can only imagine they will vote for him to do every single Bucktucker trial, the lot!”
Could Matt win over the public?
“That remains to be seen. If he does well, it’s because he’s remained calm and kind – being kind in the jungle is really important because some people are suffering far worse. Some of the younger ones, who have little experience of going without their phone or coffee, tend to struggle. You never know who is coping and who isn’t.
“In my experience, the older people, who have lived through more, cope better whereas the younger ones don’t. The younger ones tend to have mental health challenges.
“So if Matt Hancock is as kind and supportive as he should be, then he could win back some of the approval that he has lost by being there in the first place. Do I think that’s going to happen? I wouldn’t bet on it!
“He’s probably quite a nice person, who certainly showed hard work and resilience throughout the pandemic. He had one of the toughest jobs in the world, especially with the vaccine rollout. He did a good job with it in that respect, but he’s already had the whip withdrawn and he’s under criticism from his own patch.
“He will find doing trial after trial in those circumstances is physically and mentally exhausting. In the end, he will come back to face the music and I think his own constituents will be very cross with him and that’s not a good thing to do.
“I think he’s going to find it really weird in the jungle and not knowing how the system works. I think he’s going to find that really psychologically disorientating. It’s going to be interesting to see what he says when he’s talking straight to camera and how he reacts when he’s in the jungle itself. When he comes out and he sees how people have reacted, he is going to be really shocked.”
Charlene White has made no secret of her views on the government’s handling of COVID. Will she clash with Matt?
“We don’t know whether Charlene is aware Matt has signed up to the show, as you’re put into lockdown when you arrive in Australia. You don’t know what’s actually happening because you can only watch their TV and your phone is taken away.
“On the other hand, little bits of rumours filter through so it’s possible Charlene knows Hancock is coming in. While I was in isolation, I managed to quietly slip out and go for a walk on the beach and chatted to some people. I got some ideas of what was happening then.
“That being said, I think Charlene will give Matt more than a bit of a grilling, I think she’s going to be horrible to him! I can imagine one or two of the others, like Mike Tindall, attempting to cool it.”