Lembit Opik defends Matt Hancock going on I'm A Celeb
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Family members of those who lost their lives during the pandemic have said they are “absolutely disgusted” with ITV for signing the former health secretary Matt Hancock to the upcoming season of I’m A Celebrity. One mourner, Susie Crozier-Flintham, said she was “angry” with the former cabinet minister and suggested the only reason he has been called onto the show was because “of his response to the worst public health crisis in 100 years”. Another mourner, Lobby Akinnola, accused Mr Hancock and ITV of “trivialising” the deaths of Britons during the pandemic.
Susie Crozier-Flintham said: “Well, I am angry. The fact that he is as well known as he is is because of his response to the worst public health crisis in 100 years.
“I think it is absolutely disgusting and I think ITV should be ashamed of themselves as well.”
Lobby Akinnola, from the organisation COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, suggested that Mr Hancock’s appearance “trivialises” the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.
He said: “Hundreds of thousands of people have died under his watch and I think it trivialises that loss that we are going through.”
While doing the media rounds this morning, transport secretary Mark Harper was pressed on his views on Mr Hancock’s announcement.
He suggested that the former health secretary had not made the “right judgment” in his decision to go on I’m a Celebrity.
Asked on LBC whether the former health secretary had made a misjudgment, Mr Harper said: “I think members of parliament should focus on doing their job, serving their constituents. That’s our first priority.
“I think we can draw conclusions from the fact that the whip has been taken away that perhaps Mr Hancock hasn’t made the right judgment in this case.”
More than 209,000 Britons have died from coronavirus since the first fatality from the illness on February 28, 2020.
Mr Hancock, who presided over the NHS and the coronavirus response for roughly 18 months, was ignominiously sacked from his role after a hidden camera caught him breaking social distancing rules while in ministerial office.
He was filmed engaging in an affair with his aide Gina Coladangelo at a time when Britons were obliged to not come into close contact with one another.
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He has since become one of the most recognisable politicians in the UK, with a YouGov fame rating of 95 percent.
The only politicians reportedly more famous than Mr Hancock are four of the last five Conservative Prime Ministers, with the latest leader to leave Downing Street, Liz Truss, on just 88 percent.
Justifying the decision to go on the ITV reality show, an ally of Mr Hancock said on Tuesday: “There are many ways to do the job of being an MP.
“Whether he’s in camp for one-day or three weeks, there are very few places people will be able to see a politician as they really are. Where better to show the human side of those who make these decisions than with the most watched programme on TV?”
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