Matt Hancock is set to bag £400,000 from his appearance on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! according to a new report.
His decision has been met with widespread criticism, including from campaigners for families bereaved in the Covid pandemic. He also had the Tory whip swiftly removed.
Now it is claimed that the consersative MP will be one of the highest paid contestants in the ITV show’s history, with Noel Edmunds, Caitlyn Jenner, Harry Redknapp and Boy George earning a fraction more at £500K.
A source told The Sun: “Matt’s pay deal with I’m A Celebrity is around £400,000 which is one of the largest ever show fees to have been paid out.
“ITV were keen for viewers to think the deal was worth around £150,000 but in reality it’s over double that.
“They asked him to be on the show three times in a matter of weeks and the money definitely helped seal the deal.”
Despite being suspended from the Conservative party, Hancock remains an MP and will continue to receive his salary of £84,144 while he is in Australia.
He has insisted that he’ll make a sizable donation to charity but the amount is unknown. The politican will also be required to declare his reality TV pay packet so the full amount will be made public in months to come.
After news broke on Tuesday that he would be joining the ITV series, Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK, a group fighting for a public inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic, set up a petition calling for his removal.
The petition, which claims Mr Hancock’s reality TV cameo will cause “real pain and anguish to those of us who lost loved ones to Covid-19”, was swifty backed by actress Kathy Burke, Right Said Fred and Notting Hill actress Lorelei King.
The group made up of 6,000 people bereaved by Covid-19 write in the petition’s description on 38 Degrees that the politican is not a celebrity, “he’s the health secretary who oversaw the UK having one of the highest death tolls in the world from Covid-19 whilst breaking his own lockdown rules”.
“The fact that he is trying to cash in on his terrible legacy, rather than showing some humility or seeking to reflect on the appalling consequences of his time in Government says it all about the sort of his person he is,” the description continued.
“Families were ripped apart by Matt Hancock ’s actions, and turning on the TV to see him being paraded around as a joke is sickening.
“If he had any respect for families who lost loved ones to Covid-19, he would be sharing his private emails with the Covid Inquiry, not eating bugs on TV.”
At the time of writing, the number of signatures was 33,773 and continues to rise.
I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! 2022 Contestants
The former health secretary is expected to be one of two latecomers to join 10 celebrities already heading for the jungle in Australia, according to reports.
Mr Hancock resigned as health secretary in June last year the day after video footage emerged of him kissing an aide in his ministerial office in a breach of coronavirus restrictions.
He backed Mr Sunak for the leadership in the summer and last week but was not brought back into government.