Matt Hancock was one of the late arrivals to the I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here jungle campsite in episode two. Image: ITV
There may be a cost of living crisis going on but you can’t put a price on revenge. Matt Hancock has entered the jungle on ITV’s I’m a Celebrity! Get Me Out Of Here and viewers are splashing the cash to vote him into as many bushtucker trials as possible. For 50p a text, you too can vote for the disgraced former health secretary to have maggots poured on his head.
And it’s not just the public voting for vengeance. Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris told Times Radio that many MPs in parliament were gleefully voting to see him face further unpleasant challenges.
Subscribe to The Big Issue
Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work.
Hancock is a serving MP, let’s not forget, so should be representing his constituents in parliament, not the Australian outback. He has had the whip suspended for joining the TV show, meaning he is no longer a member of the Conservative party and rather sits in the House of Commons as an independent MP.
That’s not the only reason people are angry at him though. They’re downright furious.
Here’s a brief reminder of all the reasons why the public has a vendetta against Matt Hancock.
His decisions in the pandemic led to thousands of deaths in care homes
Matt Hancock became health secretary in July 2018, so was in charge of the government’s Covid response in 2020.
In the first few months of the pandemic, under Hancock’s watch, elderly and vulnerable patients were discharged from hospitals to care homes without being tested for Covid. Some of the UK’s biggest care home operators had already warned the government about the risk of asymptomatic transmission, but Hancock’s department of health did it anyway.
Thousands of people are believed to have died as a result as the policy led to outbreaks in care homes across the country. A judge has since ruled the policy was unlawful and irrational and about 20,000 care home residents died from Covid during the first wave of the pandemic in England.
Hancock apologised for the policy failure but it has done little to placate the righteous fury thousands of people feel for losing their loved ones.
He fudged the numbers for the Test and Trace system
Testing was one of the earliest and most effective measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Remember Test and Trace? The more people you test, the more infections you find and the more contacts you can trace to stop the disease’s spread. Should be simple.
The UK Statistics Authority wrote to the government in May 2020 after it was discovered that Hancock’s Department of Health and Social Care had only met the target for 100,000 daily Covid tests by changing the method of counting.
The Big Issue TV
Award-winning documentaries hand picked by The Big Issue. Use promo code 'BIGOFFER' to get your first month free of charge.
By March 2021 the test and trace system had cost a staggering £37 billion of public money and had failed miserably in preventing another lockdown. The overwhelming majority of that money went into the pockets of private contractors when the government was famously failing to feed school children or support people on disability benefits with the support they needed.
But that wasn’t the only example of public money pouring into private companies.
He oversaw handing government contracts to Conservative Party cronies
During the pandemic the government operated a VIP for any contracts to for necessary supplies, which largely meant handing wads of cash to their mates. Hancock handed the manufacturing of Covid medical supplies to his neighbour his former pub landlord.
The Guardian reported that a former neighbour in Hancock’s constituency had been awarded a contract to supply the government with millions of vials for NHS Covid-19 tests, despite having had no relevant experience.
A High Court judge ruled in February 2021 that the health secretary acted unlawfully by handing out PPE contracts without publishing details on the recipients within 30 days.
The government’s entire procurement strategy throughout the pandemic has repeatedly proven to have been an eye-watering waste of money, with billions upon billions given to private companies with little oversight. At one point the government was paying £1 million a day to store protective equipment it had bought but that was not fit for purpose.
The fact that the public is now expected to foot the bill at the same time as dealing with rising energy bills is probably not lost on many people choosing Hancock’s fate in the jungle/
He had an affair that broke Covid restrictions
Partygate was among the many scandals that did for Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock had his own private party that broke Covid restrictions.
In June 2021 the Sun published CCTV images from May 6 showing Hancock in a compromising position with health department aide Gina Coladangelo.
Covid restrictions in May 2021, which Hancock had devised, did not allow socialising indoors with people from another household unless they were in a support bubble, meaning the affair broke his own rules.
Hancock admitted breaking social distancing guidance after pictures were published, saying he had “let people down” and he was “very sorry”. He resigned the day after the Sun’s publication and separated from his wife of 15 years, Martha Hoyer Millar, with whom he has three children.
Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Christmas. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Christmas.