Gary Lineker has said the thought of Matt Hancock with “kangaroo balls” is “just too much”.
Mr Lineker’s comments come after it was confirmed that the former health secretary has signed up for the TV show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here.
Reacting to the news, the former footballer tweeted: “The thought of Hancock with kangaroo balls is just too much.”
Mr Hancock had his Tory whip suspended on Tuesday amid his involvement in the show, while he continues to face criticism from within the Tory party.
Matt HancockBeresford Hodge
But the former health secretary said he is entering the programme’s jungle to “go to where the people are – not to sit in ivory towers in Westminster”.
He insisted “I haven’t lost my marbles” by deciding to join the reality show after being suspended from the parliamentary Conservative Party.
The West Suffolk MP claimed his “first priority” is to his constituents as he flew more than 10,000 miles to join the show, which starts on Sunday.
Mr Hancock defended his decision to appear on the show, arguing it is “a great opportunity to talk directly to people who aren’t always interested in politics”.
He said reality TV is an “honest and unfiltered” way to communicate with voters.
“It’s our job as politicians to go to where the people are – not to sit in ivory towers in Westminster,” Mr Hancock wrote.
“There are many ways to do the job of being an MP. Whether I’m in camp for one day or three weeks, there are very few places people will be able to see a politician as they really are.”
He added to The Sun: “So, the truth is, I haven’t lost my marbles or had one too many pina coladas. It’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to.”
Mr Hancock said he wants to use the “incredible platform” to raise awareness of dyslexia and insisted it “wasn’t the cheque” that made him decide to join the show.
He said he turned down the programme “twice this summer” but had a “change of heart” after workers asked a third time last week.
The MP said it was not the money that changed his mind, saying he will make “a donation” to St Nicholas Hospice Care in Suffolk, though he did not say he will give up the full amount.
He said he feels able to go to the jungle now the “Government is stable”.
Mr Hancock said he can be reached on “any urgent constituency matters”
Gary LinekerJustin Downing