Tory turmoil

As the Covid-19 pandemic was at its peak, with millions of households subjected to numerous national lockdowns, the government presumed that they were immune to their own regulations and safety measures. Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson was revealed to have thrown eight social events during lockdown- one party hosted on the day before Prince Philip’s funeral (BBC, 2022). Although Johnson defended his actions, explaining that it was merely a ‘work event’- many attendees were being requested to Bring Their Own Booze (NPR, 2022). In addition to Johnson, former Chief Advisor Dominic Cummings was discovered driving 260 miles across the country with his family whilst there were heavy protocols on travel and justified another journey to ‘go for an eye test’ (The Independent, 2020).

Despite the UK’s Covid-infused political inferno, the final blow to the public’s confidence in the government was commanded by Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Other than outsourcing vital Personal Protective Equipment to friends during a national shortage, footage was leaked to the press showing Hancock kissing his colleague Gina Coladangelo during lockdown- annihilating his career and two marriages in the process (The Independent, 2022). As the Conservative party was already on their ninth life, it appeared that Hancock was a troubled case they just couldn’t stash away; Hancock was forced to resign in June 2021 (Grazia, 2022).

As we reached the post-Covid era, the political circus began to dissolve; however, Hancock accepted his fate of committing political suicide and began his pursuit towards the reality TV world.

Bring your own booze sleeping bag

I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! is a survival reality television show which follows a group of celebrities living in extreme conditions on a campsite and aim to compete gruesome challenges in order to earn dishes and delicacies for the group. As the public vote out contestants one-by-one, the remaining participant is crowned King or Queen of the jungle.

Hancock was confirmed as a contestant for I’m a Celebrity in early November 2022 while he was still a member of parliament, with many critics arguing that he should not be given a platform due to his disgraced actions during the pandemic. Others expressed their disappointment in Hancock’s lack of professionalism, actively making a laughing stock of his constituents and rewarding his infidelity in a time when millions of families were separated from one another.

Although many are appalled at Hancock’s course of action, he defended his decision, claiming ‘Rather than looking down on reality TV, we should see it for what it is- a powerful tool to get our message heard by younger generations. In fact, I think it's patronising to hear some say reality TV is beneath a politician’. Hancock appears more than thrilled with this decision, declaring the right move such as reality TV will help secure votes; ‘It's as clear as day that politicians like me must go to where the people are- particularly those who are politically disengaged. We must wake up and embrace popular culture’. Notwithstanding the uproar from the political sphere, it appears the public are choosing their own form of punishment; Hancock participated in 6 consecutive gruesome challenges- also known as Bushtucker Trials. Hancock faced various tasks such feasting on cow anus, fish-eye tacos and blended meal worms- punishment has never tasted so sweet to the general public (Wales Online, 2022).

Fellow contestants were not shy to address Hancock’s former antics, with English singer and songwriter Boy George voicing his own resentment of Hancock’s hypocrisies. Despite Boy George’s valid anger at the former Health Secretary’s actions, many online were quick to address that Boy George’s hatred was sanctimonious as he was previously jailed for 15 months for falsely imprisoning and beating a male escort (The Guardian, 2009).

The beginning of a redemption era?

It appears that Hancock may have won over the public in some sense as he came in third place during the season finale, showcasing the PR benefits of reality TV. Despite his television success, many remain irate with Hancock’s actions; it is vital to note the naivety of assuming this strategy that would result in winning back the full confidence and respect of the public.

One thing we I am personally thankful for; Matt Hancock did not pull a David Cameron by declaring a Brexit referendum, losing, resigning immediately, and triggering a decade-long plummet into chaos of 5 consecutive prime ministers that failed to deliver their promised deals. Hancock can own up to his actions and face scrutiny by the public, I give him props for that.


BBC (2022) Boris Johnson pictured drinking at No 10 lockdown event.
Grazia (2022) Here’s what Matt Hancock did wrong during Covid, in case you need a refresher.
Grazia (2022) People are angry that Matt Hancock is going to on I’m a Celeb- and they’re right to be.
NPR (2022) Boris Johnson again says BYOB party he attended during lockdown was a work event.
The Guardian (2009) Boy George gets 15 months for falsely imprisoning male escort.
The Independent (2020) Dominic Cummings says he left Durham self-isolation to drive to Barnard Castle to ‘test his eyesight'.
The Independent (2022) It doesn’t matter that Matt Hancock didn’t win I’m a Celebrity- he got exactly what he wanted.
Wales Online (2022) I’m a Celebrity… The trials Matt Hancock has faced and what he has to do next.