Disgraced former UK minister seeks reality TV redemption

Nov 26, 2022, 2:28 PM | Updated: Nov 27, 2022, 2:59 pm
FILE - Former Minister for Health Matt Hancock arrives with MP's and Peers for a service of remembr...

FILE - Former Minister for Health Matt Hancock arrives with MP's and Peers for a service of remembrance for British MP David Amess at St Margaret's Church in Westminster in London, Oct. 18, 2021. Hancock, the U.K’s scandal-prone former health secretary, is seeking an unlikely form of redemption: attempting to win “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here” — a grueling, often gruesome reality TV show set in the Australian jungle. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, file)

(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, file)

LONDON (AP) — Matt Hancock, the U.K’s scandal-prone former health secretary, sought an unlikely form of redemption Sunday: attempting to win “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here” — a grueling, often gruesome reality show set in the Australian jungle.

Hancock led Britain’s response to COVID-19 in the first year of the pandemic, telling people to stay away from others to protect the health service — then got caught breaking his government’s own rules when video emerged of him kissing and groping an aide he was having an affair with.

He was forced to resign when The Sun newspaper published the CCTV images. This time, though, he knew the camera was on, and behaved in ways many might find even more distasteful: eating the raw nether parts of camels, cows and sheep, among other things.

“I’m a Celebrity…” sends a group of famous people, often C-list celebrities, to the Australian rainforest, subjects them to trials involving spiders and snakes, and they are eliminated one by one based on a public vote.

While many Britons have been disgusted by Hancock’s appearance, blaming him for apparent failings in the government’s early response to the pandemic, viewers upended expectations by voting Hancock through to Sunday evening’s final. He finished third. Former England soccer star Jill Scott won the competition and actor Owen Warner finished second.

The former health chief outlasted Culture Club singer Boy George and former rugby player Mike Tindall, whose wife, Zara, is the niece of King Charles III. Tindall body tackled Hancock in another of the show’s tasks, and has been poking fun at the former health secretary’s politicking.

“He clearly wants to win,” said Tindall, adding that Hancock was constantly aiming his T-shirt with voting number at the camera. “Once a politician, always a politician. Always polling for votes.”

Fellow politicians have been less enthusiastic than the show-voting public. When it was announced that Hancock would appear, he was slated by fellow lawmakers, including many from his own party, and he was suspended as a Conservative member of parliament.

His success seems to have done nothing to ease their ire. Speaking to Sky News Sunday, Cabinet minister Mark Harper said: “I don’t think serving members of Parliament should be taking part in reality television programs.

“However well they do on them, I still think they should be doing the job for which they are paid a good salary — which is representing their constituents.”

Announcing that he was going to “step up,” Australian comedian Adam Hills, host of comedy current affairs show “The Last Leg,” went to Hancock’s constituency in eastern England last weekend and met with locals to hear their problems.

“I reckon I can do a better job in a week than he has done thus far,” Hills said on the show.

Still, a political comeback for Hancock is not out of the question. Conservative lawmaker Nadine Dorries was suspended in 2012 for appearing on the same show. Nine years later, then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed her to his Cabinet.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Protesters gather in front of police headquarters while marching Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Memphi...
Associated Press

Memphis police disband unit that fatally beat Tyre Nichols

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis police chief disbanded the city’s so-called Scorpion unit on Saturday, citing a “cloud of dishonor” from newly released video that showed some of its officers beating Tyre Nichols to death after stopping the Black motorist. Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis acted a day after the harrowing video emerged, saying […]
1 day ago
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast, Feb. 3, 2022, on Capitol Hill i...
Associated Press

Concerns over prayer breakfast lead Congress to take it over

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Prayer Breakfast, one of the most visible and long-standing events that brings religion and politics together in Washington, is splitting from the private religious group that had overseen it for decades, due to concerns the gathering had become too divisive. The organizer and host for this year’s breakfast, scheduled for […]
1 day ago
FILE - The building that housed office space of President Joe Biden's former institute, the Penn Bi...
Associated Press

Classified docs probe pushes Biden think tank into spotlight

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Joe Biden contemplated his next move in 2017 after decades in government, he considered a familiar path — creating a Washington-based think tank to focus on international affairs and diplomacy. It proved an easy sell and a lucrative one, too. Soft landings in the capital are common for officials with a […]
1 day ago
From left, Claudio Descalzi, the CEO of Italy's state-run energy company, ENI, Qatar's Minister of ...
Associated Press

Qatar replaces Russian company in Lebanon gas exploration

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon, two international oil giants and state-owned oil and gas company Qatar Energy signed an agreement Sunday that the Qatari firm will join a consortium that will search for gas in the Mediterranean Sea off Lebanon’s coast. The deal inked in Beirut brings Qatar into Lebanon’s gas exploration market three months after […]
1 day ago
FILE- People gather on Place de la Republique during a demonstration against proposed pension chang...
Associated Press

France must raise pension age to 64, prime minister says

PARIS (AP) — France’s prime minister insisted Sunday that the government’s plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 is “no longer negotiable,” further angering parliamentary opponents and unions who plan new mass protests and disruptive strikes this week. Raising the pension age is one part of a broad bill that is the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Maldives president to run again after winning primary

MALE, Maldives (AP) — Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won a party primary and will run for a second term in September elections. Solih defeated Mohamed Nasheed, the parliament speaker and a former president, in the Maldivian Democratic Party primary held Saturday night. Nasheed played a key role in transforming the Indian Ocean archipelago state […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Disgraced former UK minister seeks reality TV redemption