Headlines broke recently when Matt Hancock was suspended as a Conservative MP over severe controversy over joining this year’s series of ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’. Given the significant political tension and current distaste for the Tories, why wouldn’t you swap the damp and stressful workplace in Westminster for the slightly less damp and far less critical Australia?
Hancock, the previously disgraced MP for breaching COVID-19 lockdown rules with a political aide, has made the decision to enter the jungle with the ambition of being crowned ‘king of the jungle’.
Allegedly, Hancock – who has been the MP for West Suffolk since 2010 – will receive £400,000 in return for appearing on this year’s series, which is over 4 times his income as an MP. Obviously, despite any unrelated income sources, this is an extremely appealing figure given the job insecurity of MPs.
As standard, Twitter has already boiled over with excitement, criticism and anonymous banter about the issue. Count Binface has challenged the West Suffolk MP to an immediate by-election. If this comment were to have an impact, the standoff would be extra shocking considering Binface was known by 6% of the electorate at the London Mayoral Elections in 2021.
Similarly to a campaign involving Liz Truss’s disappointing loss to a lettuce, the Daily Star have begun a campaign to ensure that Hancock faces every trial in the jungle. Already, MPs take the brunt of the British Media regularly, but what will happen when Hancock’s 16% popularity rating is at stake?
What does all of this mean for British Politics and the Tories credibility that has spiralled towards the ground? One argument is that it will give the public a chance to dissect the true character of the MP outside of a parliamentary setting and alongside popular public figures, such as Boy George who, unlike Hancock, boasts a 45% popularity rating. Rarely do the public meet their MP and grill them face to face, so some may find interest in holding a public figure accountable through this informal route. Whilst I think that this point is completely valid, it is unlikely to be sufficient enough to pacify the ruthless media. Therefore, to win the public over, Hancock must portray himself as a personable, caring, considerate and hardworking individual.
On the other hand, Hancock would be completely disregarding his constituents should he last the full term and be crowned ‘king of the jungle’. With the luxuries of modern technology, like an internet connection, stripped from the celebs, he will have no opportunity to properly represent his constituents. I speculate that all casework responses and actions will be written and signed on his behalf. Casework is a vital responsibility of an MP, as it is the work done by an MP to take action on constituent’s behalf with government bodies, local government or third-party organisations. Therefore, during his time in the jungle, Hancock will not be providing the tax payer value for money as it is physically impossible for him to provide in-person advice surgeries, unless perhaps West Suffolk Council start handing out plane tickets and stop collecting bins.
Overall, I think a balanced view should be taken on this issue. Hancock will never serve in government again after this. Likely, he will retain the popularity of his constituents as he has a commanding 66% majority, which will decline but not suffice at the next general election. Clearly, the decision has been made by Hancock and his team and we should reel with excitement. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing Ant and Dec hide their smirks and sniggers as Hancock has beetles poured over his head.