Matt Hancock has opened up about his time in theI’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! jungle, saying that he did not feel “bullied” by his campmates despite being grilled over his behaviour during the pandemic.
Following his late entrance in the jungle, the MP proved to be a divisive contestant, withBoy George contemplating leaving the show following his arrival andChris Moyles admitting that he still had “major issues” with him following his exit.
And during his time on the show, Matt’s I’m A Celeb campmates weren’t afraid to ask the former health secretary aboutthe decisions he made during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as his motivations for appearing on the show.
However despite the tough conversations, in an interview with Mail+ published following his return to the UK, Matt said the group’s view of him had “softened over time”.
More than 1,000 complaints were made to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom over his participation in the show, while others expressed concerns to the body about how he was being treated by the other contestants.
He said: “I didn’t feel bullied at all in the jungle. I formed an extraordinary bond with Seann Walsh in a short period of time, and then it took a few days to work through and develop relationships with the rest of the campmates.”
He added: “Some of them, I could tell, didn’t take to me straight away but it softened over time. Being in the jungle also gives you lots of time to think about what really matters. I thought about how much I care for the people I really love.”
While Matt surprised himself by becoming the third-to-last contestant to leave the jungle, he has faced criticism from opposition politicians and from within his own party for joining the show, with the Tory whip suspended.
“I knew it was a risk the whip would be suspended – after all that is the precedent (when Tory MP Nadine Dorries went into the jungle) – but I didn’t expect it and went out of my way to go and see the Chief Whip before coming here,” he said.
Despite this, during the interview Matt explained that every time the public voted for him to remain he was “really pleased”, though he missed his children and felt “guilty” about being away from his partner Gina Coladangelo,with whom he conducted an affair breaking coronavirus social distancing rules.
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