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‘Some may think I’ve lost my marbles’: Matt Hancock defends his decision to appear on I’m a Celebrity | Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock said his decision to appear on I’m a Celebrity was driven by a desire to show his “human side” and use reality TV as a platform to “send important messages to the masses”.

Writing in The Sun defending his decision, which saw him lose the Tory Whip on Tuesday, the former health secretary said ‘although some may think I’ve lost my marbles’, he believed politicians “must wake up and embrace popular culture”.

He wrote: “While there are undoubtedly those who think I shouldn’t go, I think it’s a great opportunity to speak directly to people who aren’t always interested in politics, even though they care a lot about how our country runs.

“It’s our job as politicians to go where the people are – not to sit in ivory towers in Westminster.”

Hancock said he thought “long and hard” about the decision and had already turned producers down twice over the summer, but “changed his mind” when he was approached for the third time last week.

He said his confidence that the new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, was leading a stable government further convinced him that now was the right time for the reality TV appearance.

On Tuesday evening, the Mirror reported that Hancock had landed at Brisbane Airport to begin filming for the show, which will air its first episode on November 6.

Hancock’s trip to Australia has been described as a “serious” breach by the chief whip and will mean he will be unable to vote in parliament while still being able to claim his £84,144 salary.

In his article for the Sun, he said he did not expect to serve in government again, but could “support Rishi and the government in various ways”. He added that he had spoken to the whips “in the same way as any MP would when visiting abroad, which happens all the time”.

He said he agreed with the producers that he could continue speaking to his constituents from the jungle.

Hancock said he planned to use his reality TV appearance to promote dyslexia campaign work, which has been his focus as a backbench MP since stepping down as home secretary. health after breaking Covid rules by having an affair with his assistant, who he said ‘blew away every part of my life’.

He wants the public to understand the need for earlier identification and better management of dyslexia, the result of his own struggle to get a diagnosis, and hopes to increase public support for his bill on the dyslexia screening and teacher training, which will receive its second reading. in parliament days after I’m a Celebrity… ends.

He said: “I want to use this amazing platform to raise awareness, so that no child leaves primary school without knowing if they have dyslexia.”

He said he would use proceeds from his appearance to donate to St Nicholas’ Hospice in Suffolk and causes supporting dyslexia, and confirmed he would report the amount he received in parliament.

Condemning MPs’ ‘condescending’ attitudes to popular culture, he wrote: ‘While some would say reality TV should be less than a politician, I think we need to go where the people congregate.’

theguardian Gt

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