A spokesperson for the disgraced former health secretary has denied reports of ‘secret talks’ to launch his showbiz career following his departure from the jungle on Sunday night.
The MP for West Suffolk faced a huge backlash after signing up for the reality show for a £400,000 fee while parliament is still sitting.
But he managed to win viewers over after taking on a series of Bushtucker Trials and defied critics to be one of the last contestants voted out – behind Hollyoaks actor, Owen Warner, and Lioness Jill Scott, who made history as the first LGBTQ+ woman to be crowned queen of the jungle.
ITV figures for the 2022 series final revealed that Mr Hancock was nowhere near winning, getting just 21.72% of the votes.
But he is facing questions over his career following his 18-day stint on the show.
He was suspended from the Conservative parliamentary party and had the whip withdrawn after an avalanche of criticism from fellow Tories including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, as well as furious Covid campaigners who have slammed his handling of the pandemic.
He is now sitting as an Independent MP and has until December 5 to declare whether he will stand again.
A spokesperson for Mr Hancock told Sky News: ‘Matt has no intention of standing down or stepping away from politics.’
There has been ‘no conversation’ with any PR consultant, they insisted.
But when asked if the whip should be returned to Mr Hancock, Business Secretary Grant Shapps criticised him for going into the jungle in the first place.
‘It’s often said politics is showbusiness for ugly people. He should be back here with us ugly people in parliament doing the job for his constituents,’ he told Sky News.
However Mr Shapps also told Times Radio this morning that Mr Hancock ‘may have come to the conclusion that his parliamentary career is pretty much done.’
In his exit interview with hosts Ant and Dec, Mr Hancock acknowledged his appearance on the show was ‘controversial’ but insisted he wanted to show his more human side.
Ahead of his surprise appearance on the programme, he had vowed to raise awareness of dyslexia.
But it was not until the last week of the show that he finally mentioned the condition, leaving many viewers unimpressed.
The pair reunited on the I’m A Celebrity bridge in an embrace which appeared to ‘re-enact’ the moment they were caught kissing in CCTV footage – triggering his downfall as health secretary and sending him to the backbenches.
A reputational expert said of the fallen politician’s desperate attempts to redeem himself: ‘Hancock’s appearance in the jungle has regained the public’s trust in him as human, but not enough to heal the reputational wounds as a competent, principled political leader.’