Hancock and fellow new entrant Sean Walsh’s appearance was teased last night and they will enter officially on November 9, 2022.
The MP, who often appeared behind a wooden podium during Downing Street news conferences, told viewers they would see the “human side of the guy behind the podium”.
His decision to join the show was met with widespread criticism, including from campaigners for families bereaved in the Covid pandemic. He also had the Tory whip swiftly removed.
After news broke last week 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 Hancock’s reality TV cameo will cause “real pain and anguish to those of us who lost loved ones to Covid-19”, was swiftly 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, writes in the petition’s description on 38 Degrees that the politician 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.”
The petition has received 43,733 signatures so far and the figure is growing.
The Standard has contacted an ITV spokesperson for comment.
Rishi Sunak criticised Hancock for going on the ITV show in the middle of a worsening cost-of-living crisis.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister believes that, at a challenging time for the country, MPs should be working hard for their constituents, whether that’s in the House (of Commons) or indeed in their constituency.”
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 was later discovered to be having an affair, and left his wife and children.
He backed Mr Sunak for the leadership in the summer but was not brought back into Government when Sunak became prime minister.
And it’s not looking good for Hancock in the jungle either, as he is among the early favourites to be the first contestant to leave this year’s I’m a Celeb.
Not only that, but the politician is favourite to do the most bushtucker trials in Series 22 and the most bushtucker trials in history. Janice Dickinson is the current holder, with eight.
Betfair spokesperson Sam Rosbottom said: “Matt Hancock is among the early favourites to be the first departure on this year’s I’m a Celeb. The former health secretary is 6/1 to go first.
“The British public look set to make Hancock’s time in Australia a nightmare, with the Tory MP 2/1 to break the record of doing the most bushtucker trials in I’m a Celeb history.”