Matt Hancock has told his I’m a Celebrity campmates that Rishi Sunak is “great” as he admitted he understood why people might be “angry” at his decision to join the reality TV show.
Before appearing on the ITV programme, the former health secretary had come under fire for his decision to join the stars in the Australian jungle.
Mr Sunak was among those to join the criticism of Hancock, who had the Conservative Party whip removed following the announcement that he would be participating.
The Prime Minister said he was “very disappointed” in the MP’s decision.
— I'm A Celebrity… (@imacelebrity) November 9, 2022
In a conversation with fellow campmate Charlene White, the MP for West Suffolk told the journalist and TV presenter he took the decision to join the show because there is now “stability” in UK politics.
He also praised Mr Sunak, calling him “great”.
Hancock told White: “If I can use this to sort of peel myself back a bit and just be me, it’s better.”
She replied: “But I can imagine it would not have gone down well at all at home? You have to expect that because Parliament is still sitting, we’re not in recess, you know…?”
He told her: “I genuinely think that because we’ve now got sort of stability, that is…”
White said: “We’ve had stability for all of five minutes Matt.”
Hancock replied: “Rishi’s great, he’ll be fine.”
Asked by White if he could understand if people were not happy about his appearance, he said: “I understand that but I also.. of course I get that, right. But I also just think that sometimes you’ve got to do things differently.”
During an early conversation with comedian and fellow campmate Seann Walsh about his Blink-182 tattoo, Hancock admitted that he did “not really” know who the US rock band – whose hit All The Small Things reached number 2 on the UK charts in 2000 – were.
Politics-watchers joined with regular viewers to see the arrival of Hancock, while some political opponents hit out once again at the MP for his decision to enter the jungle.
The Liberal Democrats’ Twitter account said: “Never mind #ImACeleb and trying to win meals for a jungle camp, Matt Hancock should be in the UK, in his office, and delivering for constituents wondering where their next meal will come from.
“You’re not a celebrity. You’re an MP with a job to do.”