Voices: Is Matt Hancock being naive or manipulative? Cast your votes now

According to the former secretary of state for health and social care, Matt Hancock, he’s going on I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! for entirely altruistic reasons. A dyslexic himself, he says: “I want to raise the ­profile of my dyslexia campaign to help every dyslexic child unleash their potential — even if it means taking an unusual route to get there, via the Australian jungle!

I’m A Celebrity... is watched by millions of Brits up and down the country. I want to use this incredible platform to raise awareness, so no child leaves primary school not knowing if they have dyslexia.”

Naive? Manipulative? It might be a bit more convincing if he’d mentioned the fee he’s getting for putting himself through some discomfort in the Australian jungle, rumoured to be as much as £400,000. He’s also got a book to promote; he’s already filmed a Celebrity SAS show, and there’s another rumour – courtesy of the fabulous Popbitch website – that he’s been working up a pitch for a show in which a camera crew would follow him and Gina Colangelo on their journey as they fix up a second property on the continent.

Apparently, he likes the working title “Hancock’s Holiday Home”. You must wonder about the guy’s sanity, but he does seem to be a bit of a fame ferret. To me, it seems as though he’s giving up on politics entirely and is set on a fresh career – a quest that will likely disappoint this glamorous pair.

Hancock doesn’t appear to be like those other bizarre and flawed political personalities who’ve done a few things wrong but are basically OK and even lovable in their own weird way. Ed Balls, Ann Widdecombe, Lembit Opik, Nadine Dorries; they’ve all dabbled in the world of popular entertainment.

Even Neil Hamilton, disgraced in the cash for questions scandal, enjoyed some public sympathy mixed in the with mockery after he and wife Christine became professional objects of public derision.

Hancock, by contrast, presided over an inadequate initial response to the Covid crisis, left care home residents unprotected (contrary to his own claims of “throwing a protective arm around them”) – and eventually then had to resign after he was caught breaking his own social distancing rules.

His actions and those of the government he served probably cost lives – and his hypocrisy, like Boris Johnson’s – did untold damage to the trust people place in the public health advice given by officials.

He claims he fell in love. Well, there were plenty more families out there who stuck to the rules and still lost loved ones in the Covid pandemic. The bereaved families are right to object to Hancock capitalising on his disgraced reputation. He hasn’t done himself any favours by claiming he can’t do some of the trials because he’s got “trench foot” from the SAS show, and he also gets to keep his phone and laptop so he can “work” whilst sequestered with the spiders (ie check out his coverage). He seems rather spoilt.

Let us be clear: ITV and Hancock stand to make huge amounts of cash from people calling the premium phone line to make Hancock do all the jungle trials. They would not be bothering if it was, say, George Eustice or Brandon Lewis who had to eat live beetles; but they will pay to inflict misery on Hancock because of who he is and what he’s done. It’s what he wants! ITV plc and Matt Hancock MP are profiting from human misery, and no amount of feeble bants from Ant and Dec can disguise that.

If you ask me, Hancock is only out there and engaging on all this ridiculous telly stuff because he knows he’s already a bad joke, and has decided to make the best of it. The school disco style snog with his paramour Gina in his not-so-private office was recorded and leaked and appalled the nation. When he discovered Johnson only wanted to hang on to him to sack him later on, Hancock resigned.

To keep up to speed with all the latest opinions and comment sign up to our free weekly Voices Dispatches newsletter by clicking here

He’s deserted his constituents, been disowned by his local activists, been thrown out of the parliamentary party and burned every single bridge apart from the one that will take him into the jungle. Ever since his fall from grace, he’s been making clumsy attempts at a political comeback, and they’ve all failed. He knows the Tories will be out of office soon, and he will never return to the cabinet table. Hence the scramble to get into the jungle.

The problem with Hancock is twofold: he’s toxic and he doesn’t realise he’s toxic. For me, having him support the cause of dyslexia actually damages it, by association, and by the obviously mercenary way he’s using it.

No doubt pop legend Boy George or Love Island babe Olivia Attwood might engage in a bit of chat about it, but no one’s going to be that interested. He’s a very poor champion for the cause, I’m afraid. It’s a bit like appointing Nigel Farage as a brand ambassador for a refugee charity. It’s not going to work, Matt.