Voices: Angela Rayner: Matt Hancock could make me vote for a Tory for the first time

It’s impossible to miss– I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here is back. However, this year, I won’t be on the edge of my seat to pop Ant and Dec on pre-record.

That’s because there is one contestant whose appearance is well beyond just making us all cringe to our souls. Yes, we’ve all seen the meme – I’m talking about Matt Hancock.

Matt Hancock has no business going on I’m a Celeb while parliament is sitting. The clue is in the name. He’s not a celeb. He’s still an MP. And he has a very important day job to do here in Britain.

As MPs, our job is – first and foremost – to serve our constituents. For most legislators across parliament, including me, this is work that never stops. When a constituent is facing eviction, can’t afford their supermarket shop or their business is about to go under, we’re often their final port of call.

I am proud of the work that my colleagues and I do for our constituents, day in day out, but I can’t see how it can be done cut off from the world for weeks in a hammock in the Australian outback.

We all know that Matt Hancock was desperately skipping around for a job in the new prime minister’s team. But even I think that swanning off to the jungle is a poor substitute for getting a seat around this government of all the talentless. It honestly feels like he has given up on even pretending to care about the issues facing working people right now.

This simply isn’t good enough. We are facing a cost of living crisis and the longest recession predicted in a century. Matt Hancock should be here doing his bit to clean up the mess he helped create and the economic devastation caused by the last PM he propped up – Liz Truss, the human wrecking ball. He’s already missed important votes including on the triple lock for pensions.

But it’s beyond even that. As the former health secretary who oversaw the Conservatives’ disastrous response to the pandemic, he should be answerable to the Covid public inquiry here at home. After all the Tory sleaze, lies and scandals we’ve seen in recent years, trust in politicians is very low. This latest ego trip taints us all.

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It’s not that I mind TV appearances. Politicians should be visible and accountable. But there’s a big difference between a politician appearing on a news or chat show to give our views, and spending three weeks in the jungle. There are also lots of ex-politicians, including Labour ones, who have also gone on to do great reality TV – Ed Balls, Jacqui Smith and Alan Johnson, to name a few. But they did this after they’d been MPs. Not while constituents were still relying on them.

Sadly, as much as we’d all love it to be true, Matt Hancock isn’t retired yet. What has he got to say between forcing the kangaroo anus pies and cockroach milkshakes down his throat?

For the next two weeks, his fate is in the public’s hands. It’s just a pity that it isn’t at an election. Back here, even the Tories have disowned him – a party who gave us a PM who couldn’t even outlast a lettuce. His local council has condemned him and his Conservative Association is up in arms. Matt, a word of advice – don’t expect a warm welcome when you come home.

In the meantime, his life will be all about surviving the latest bushtucker trial. Who knows? This may be the first time I ever vote for a Tory.