'I'm A Celebrity' 2022: Who is Matt Hancock? Former Health Secretary joining this year's line-up

Matt Hancock MP pictured giving media interviews on College Green, Westminster, after prime minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation. Picture date: Thursday July 7, 2022. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/Empics
Matt Hancock MP pictured July 2022 (Matt Crossick/Empics)

I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here may have courted their most controversial name yet by including former health secretary Matt Hancock.

Heading to Australia to join the camp as a late addition, Hancock's involvement in the show has already proven to be divisive – with some viewers even threatening to switch off.

Read more: 'I'm a Celebrity' 2022 cast: Full list of contestants, from Matt Hancock to Mike Tindall

Will he be able to win over the audience? Or is he destined for a month of public-voted Bushtucker trials?

Here's what you need to know about him...

Who is Matt Hancock?

Matt Hancock, alongside other members of Conservative Party, waits outside the party headquarters in Westminster, London, for the arrival of Rishi Sunak, the new leader of the Conservative party. Picture date: Monday October 24, 2022.
Matt Hancock pictured August 2022 (PA)

Born October 2nd, 1978, Matt Hancock was born to Michael and Shirley Hancock (now Carter), and is the youngest of three siblings.

In 1999, he joined the Conservative party. Before becoming an MP, he was an economist for the Bank of England.

Read more: 'This Morning' hit with complaints over Phillip Schofield's dyslexia comments to Matt Hancock

In May 2010, Hancock was voted Conservative MP for West Suffolk. He became Minister for the Cabinet Office in 2015 under David Cameron, and in January 2018 was promoted to Culture Secretary under Theresa May's government. He worked in the position for seven months before being promoted to Health Secretary.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock updating MPs on the areas which will be moved into Tier 3, in the House of Commons, London. (Photo by PA Video/PA Images via Getty Images)
Health Secretary Matt Hancock updating MPs on the areas which will be moved into Tier 3, in the House of Commons, London. (Photo by PA Video/PA Images via Getty Images)

After May quit her position as Prime Minister in June 2019, Hancock made a bid for the top position, only to pull out shortly thereafter after failing to get enough support within the Conservative Party. The role eventually went to Boris Johnson, who remained in the role before quitting in August 2022.

But he is most known for becoming one of the leading roles in the UK's tackling of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2022, initiating lockdown procedures and their subsequent failed attempts at reopening the country before they were closed down again.

Read more: 'I'm a Celebrity' fans react to Matt Hancock rumours

In June 2021, The Sun published photographs of him having an affair with advisor Gina Coladangelo in his Whitehall office, during the period he was publicly telling people to stay away from loved-ones and social distance. This clear breach of social guidelines led to him resigning from his position as Health Secretary after national outcry and increased distrust in the government.

Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaks during a virtual press conference inside 10 Downing Street in central London on December 10, 2020. - British health officials on Wednesday warned that anyone with a history of significant allergic reactions should not have the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid jab for the time being. (Photo by SIMON DAWSON / POOL / AFP) (Photo by SIMON DAWSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Matt Hancock as Britain's health secretary in December 2020 (AFP)

Around this time he separated from his wife, Martha, whom he'd been married to since 2006 and shares three children.

Following the news of his appearance on I'm A Celebrity, which will take place while Parliament is in session, the Prime Minister suspended his Tory whip, essentially making him an independent member of the House of Commons.

Who's angry about Matt Hancock joining 'I'm A Celebrity' 2022?

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock, Conservative Party MP for West Suffolk, wears a face mask leaving 10 Downing Street in London, England, on December 9, 2020. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Matt Hancock, Conservative Party MP for West Suffolk, pictured in December 2020 (Getty Images)

Hancock's appearance on I'm A Celebrity has caused outcry both among politicians and the general public alike, especially as it's believed he will be paid £400,000 for his stint – making him one of the most expensive celebs in the show's history.

Members of the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group launched a petition to have Hancock removed from the line-up, and it surpassed 20,000 signatures in two days.

MPs are not pleased with the decision either, with many mocking his decision to take part.

Among them, SNP MP Pete Wishart stated: "It speaks volumes that Matt Hancock would rather be stranded in a remote jungle eating kangaroo testicles than spend a moment longer on the Tory benches at Westminster, as Rishi Sunak’s government lurches from one crisis to another."

Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock, speaks at a coronavirus press conference inside 10 Downing Street in London, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant,pool)
Matt Hancock, pictured at a COVID press conference in 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Other papers and fan bases are filing to have him be assigned every Bushtucker trial.

Read more: 'I'm A Celebrity': All of the winners so far

Olly Nash, executive producer of I'm A Celebrity, has defended the decision and told ITV News: "We’ve put in loads of politicians over the years, we also put in people who have had very strong views about certain things and sometimes it plays out in camp and sometimes it doesn’t.

"It’s not a question of trying to divide camp, we have never been a deliberately divisive camp. It’s up to them to come into the camp and it’s up to them if they want to leave."

What has Matt Hancock said about appearing on the show?

Mike Tindall MBE,, Owen Warner, Olivia Attwood, Charlene White, Boy George, Chantelle Douglas, Sue Cleaver, Chris Moyles, Babatúndé Aléshé and Jill Scott MBE - I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here 2022 (ITV/Lifted Entertainment)
The original line-up of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here 2022. Matt Hancock and Seann Walsh not pictured (ITV/Lifted Entertainment)

Ahead of his appearance on the show, Hancock released a self-written piece to The Sun explaining his decision to take part, saying it was to raise awareness for the Dyslexia Screening and Teacher Training Bill which is due to get its second screening in Parliament shortly after I'm A Celebrity ends.

He joked he "hadn't lost his marbles" and wanted to reach out to those who have become disengaged with politics, bringing it to a platform they would be more willing to pay attention to.

Read more: 'I'm A Celebrity' champ Danny Miller says public will use Matt Hancock as a ‘toy’

"While there will undoubtedly be those who think I shouldn’t go, I think it’s a great opportunity to talk directly to people who aren’t always interested in politics, even if they care very much about how our country’s run," he wrote.

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

"I think it’s patronising to hear some say reality TV is beneath a politician. We all know that many people are turned off by the ­aggressive ‘gotcha’ questioning and insider presumptions of political news," he added. "Reality TV is a very different way to communicate with the electorate — it’s both honest and unfiltered."

WATCH: Mark Harper: Matt Hancock failing in his job by going on I’m a Celebrity