Matt Hancock and 'I'm A Celebrity' face growing boycott from outraged public

Matt Hancock's I'm A Celebrity appearance has disgusted many. (Shutterstock/ITV)
Matt Hancock's I'm A Celebrity appearance has disgusted many. (Shutterstock/ITV)

I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! and Matt Hancock are facing a growing boycott from people outraged over his inclusion in the reality TV show.

When the former health secretary and current elected MP was announced for the ITV show's line-up, it sparked a strong reaction with his parliamentary whip being suspended and the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group launching a petition to have him removed from the programme that has more than 44,000 signatures.

Read more: I'm A Celebrity first look: Matt Hancock gasps for breath in water-filled cage

Many people vowed to vote him into every trial to face jungle insects, rats, snakes and discomfort as a punishment, but there are growing calls to ignore him completely instead - as well as the show.

Dr Cathy Gardner, who won a high court ruling that Hancock's care home discharge policy at the beginning of the pandemic was unlawful, said “to see him just paraded on television, like he’s some kind of fun figure, so he can make some money and make himself into some kind of fake celebrity” was “insulting” and “completely sick”.

Cathy Gardner leaves the High Court, London. Picture date: Monday March 14, 2022. (Photo by James Manning/PA Images via Getty Images)
Dr Cathy Gardner won a high court ruling that Matt Hancock's pandemic care home policy was unlawful. (PA)

Dr Gardner's father was one of more than 11,000 care home residents in England who died with COVID in March and April 2020, and she added: "If people think that making him do stupid things on television is some kind of penance, well, I don’t think so. He should have just disappeared. I don’t want to see his face on TV."

She is not alone in her views, as Chris Bryant MP tweeted: "I’m not referring to him, because I don’t want him to think I care and he doesn’t need any more attention."

Matt Hancock
There are calls to boycott Matt Hancock and I'm A Celebrity. (ITV)

Broadcaster Danny Baker added after his entry to camp: "Anyone else finding this chummy normalisation of Matt Hancock repulsive? He tried to close down my local Lewisham Hospital. He's one of the disgusting crew who has led us as a country where we are now. Ignore this creep. This chancer. No trials. Nothing. Then out."

Read more: Matt Hancock confronted by I'm A Celebrity campmates after jungle arrival

One of Baker's followers replied: "I was enjoying the programme until he arrived and now I honestly can’t watch it as he makes my stomach churn. All those elderly dying in care homes, the health and care staff with faulty PPE catching Covid, the contracts to chums, how could ITV do this to us?"

Another agreed: "It's Masterchef for me tonight. pity because I'd have enjoyed Boy George, I think."

Matt Hancock gasps for breath in I'm A Celebrity. (ITV)
Matt Hancock gasps for breath in an I'm A Celebrity trial. (ITV)

Others shared their view that ignoring him was the best way to go.

One person tweeted: "Wouldn’t it be better if we didn’t vote for Matt Hancock to do all the trials? Wouldn’t it better if we didn’t give him the attention he’s craving by going in there? Let’s almost ignore him, until the first vote and then get him out."

Someone else wrote: "If all of us who feel disgusted Matt Hancock is on #ImACeleb just boycott the series - would that impact other broadcasters from having him on? how about #boycottImaceleb ? Least I can do in memory of all those who died in care homes under his policy sending untested back."

Another bereaved relative tweeted: "My mum died 8/4/20 after catching Covid in a nursing home we were told was in "a ring of steel". She was worth 10,000 of Matt Hancock. A Bush tucker trial? He deserves a criminal trial. I can't watch him make money from 100s of 1000s Covid deaths."

Many people commented that they had been switching off since Hancock joined the programme or had decided not to watch this year's series at all.

Mike Tindall MBE, Owen Warner, Olivia Attwood, Charlene White, Boy George, Scarlette 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 other campmates have struggled with their feelings over being joined by Matt Hancock. (ITV/Lifted Entertainment)

One person tweeted: "As predicted, I simply cannot watch #ImACeleb with Matt Hancock on it. I can feel my blood pressure rising. I won't be able to watch it til he's out. Shame as I was enjoying it."

Someone else agreed: "I think for anyone who lost a loved one in 2020 the inclusion of Matt Hancock on #ImACeleb is completely wrong and abhorrent and I can’t believe they’re doing it. Have barely been able to watch the show this evening and think that is it for me for this year."

Another person added: "I can’t watch, it’s just a constant reminder of all the emotions I experienced in 2020, people are genuinely traumatised and he’s just expecting us to forget. Matt Hancock may be a human but many of us lost ourselves and our humanity in the pandemic."

I'm A Celebrity continues - with Matt Hancock featuring in another trial - tonight at 9pm on ITV.

Watch: Charlene White grills Matt Hancock over decision to go on I'm A Celebrity