Matt Hancock has announced that he will not be standing for re-election as an MP in the next general election. The former Health Secretary has caused headlines recently after he was suspended as a Conservative MP for joining ITV’s reality TV show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
The West Suffolk MP wrote in a letter to prime minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday: “I am incredibly proud of what [the Conservatives] have achieved in my nine years in Government” and that he is “proud to have supported [Rishi Sunak] to become Prime Minister and wish you the best in facing the challenges ahead.”
He added: “There was a time when I thought the only way to influence the public debate was in Parliament, but I’ve realised there’s far more to it than that. I have increasingly come to believe that for a healthy democracy we must find new ways to reach people - especially those who are disengaged with politics.”
The MP finished third on this year’s edition of I’m A Celebrity, for which he was reportedly paid £400,000. His appearance sparked backlash from fellow party members and from voters in his West Suffolk constituency branding the move as “disgraceful”.
Hancock defended his choice to appear on the show, saying it was a powerful tool to reach young voters. He has also announced that he will appear on Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins, for which he was paid £45,000.
In his resignation letter to the prime minister he said that the chief whip had told him that he would be reinstated into the Conservative party in “due course”. Hancock added that would “no longer be necessary”.
Hancock said: “I will play my part in the debate about the future of our country and engage with the public in new ways”, adding that he will continue to represent West Suffolk until the next general election.