Former UK health secretary Matt Hancock has said he did not feel “bullied” by his campmates on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
Following his arrival in the Australian jungle, Hancock was questioned by his fellow contestants on the show.
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) December 2, 2022
In an interview with Mail+ which was published following his return to the UK, he said the group’s view of him had "softened over time".
Over 1,000 complaints were made to broadcast watchdog 'Ofcom' over his participation in the show, while others expressed concerns about how he was being treated by the other contestants.
Responding to the suggestion that he was singled out, 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.
"Whatever he says about me, I think Boy George is wonderful and I did not expect to say that about him because we have very different backgrounds, to say the least.
"It took us a few days, but we had, what I would call, grown-up, respectful discussions.
"Some of them, I could tell, didn’t take to me straightaway 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."
I really couldn't care less how cheerfully or humbly Matt Hancock eats a camel's penis.
Nurses in my hospital died of the Covid they caught there, thanks to inadequate PPE.
He authorised sending residents back to care homes when we knew they had Covid.
He's never apologised.
— Rachel Clarke (@doctor_oxford) November 27, 2022
Hancock has faced criticism from opposition politicians and from within his party for joining the show, with the Tory whip suspended.
He said that each day the public voted for him to remain he was "really pleased", but that he missed his children "desperately" and felt "guilty" about being away from his partner Gina Coladangelo, with whom he conducted an affair breaking coronavirus social distancing rules.
His participation in the hit show has been met with dismay by many, with key figures regularly voicing their bewilderment about public votes, as well as refusing to accept his nice-guy image in the jungle.
I don’t care that Matt Hancock “comes across so well” on @imacelebrity
His decision to stop community covid testing on the 12th March 2020 led to my brothers death, alone & at home 4 weeks later
Ditto 10000s of others
I cannot forget that & nor should you
— nazir afzal (@nazirafzal) November 27, 2022
He added: “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.
“I haven’t seen everything Rishi said, but I do agree that public service is a noble profession.
“I think it’s vital MPs connect with the electorate, including the large swathes of people — especially younger people — who don’t connect through the traditional political media.”