Matt Hancock’s political career is “pretty much done” after his stint on I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!, a cabinet minister has said.
Business Secretary Grant Shapps said Mr Hancock’s stretch in the jungle indicates that he will be giving up his job in Westminster.
“I do think that his true position should have been in Parliament this last few weeks, serving his constituents”, Mr Shapps told Times Radio.
“It’s often said that politics is showbusiness for ugly people. He should be with us uglies back in the House rather than the jungle down under.”
Asked if Mr Hancock will leave politics, he added: “I haven’t spoken to him about it, but I suspect he may have already reached that conclusion.
“Why would you go off and spend all that time in the jungle if you were going to carry on in Parliament? I’m only speculating.
“It’s a very hard job to do if you’re completely out of touch. And I think he may therefore have come to the conclusion that his parliamentary career is pretty much done.”
Mr Hancock’s aides have said he plans to return to Westminster. He was stripped of the Tory whip after accepting a place on the ITV reality show and now sits as an independent MP.
They also refuted claims his girlfriend Gina Coladangelo had secret meetings with a publicist about him pursuing a showbusiness career.
During his 18 days in the Australian jungle, the West Suffolk MP surpassed expectations to reach the final of the ITV reality show, beating the likes of singer Boy George, radio DJ Chris Moyles and ex-rugby star Mike Tindall.
He took part in 10 Bushtucker trials, which saw him submerged underwater with eels, buried underground with snakes, and munching on a camel’s penis in an eating challenge.
After being voted off the show he was greeted by Ms Coladangelo, who he was caught on CCTV kissing in his office in 2021 - events which ultimately led to his resignation as a cabinet minister for breaching Covid rules.
Asked by show hosts Ant and Dec why he took part in the series, Mr Hancock said: “I wanted to show what I’m like as a person.”
He added: “Lots of people come to me with pre-conceived ideas for obvious reasons, and I just wanted to be myself.
“But I also believe that for politicians as a whole, we don’t come across as human enough. And this is probably the most extreme way of showing who you are.”
Mr Hancock added that he also entered the jungle to raise awareness of his dyslexia campaign.
He has previously said he would donate some of his £400,000 appearance fee to a hospice in his constituency and dyslexia charities.