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Matt Hancock broke government rules on passing I’m a Celebrity, says watchdog chairman | Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock broke government dating rules by not consulting the watchdog before appearing on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on business meetings (Acoba).

In a letter to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Oliver Dowden, Eric Pickles wrote: “I am writing to you in my capacity as Chairman of the Professional Appointments Advisory Committee to bring to your attention a breach of government rules relating to professional appointments. .

“Mr Hancock did not seek Acoba’s advice before signing up for two TV series, ITV’s I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! and Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins.

However, it was recommended that no further action be taken.

Lord Pickles added: “It is up to you to decide what appropriate action to take.

“However, given the transparent nature of Mr Hancock’s role, which is limited to appearing on [these] shows (not dealing with the commercial side of Channel 4 or ITV’s business) I think it would be disproportionate to take any further action in the matter.

But Lord Pickles has dismissed the former Health Secretary’s claims that his failure to consult Acoba before appearing on I’m a Celebrity… did not break government rules.

“The rules are clear that a request is required when individuals plan a series of media activities and that it is up to Acoba to assess the associated risks,” he wrote in the letter.

“As such, failing to seek and expect guidance before these roles are announced or assumed in this case is a breach of government rules and requirements set out in the Ministerial Code.”

Hancock lost the Tory Whip following news of his appearance on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

Before joining the ITV show, Hancock insisted participating would mean he would reach a wider audience, adding that politicians should “go where the people are”.

He also said he would use his time on the show to raise awareness about dyslexia.

However, his decision to join the three-week competition, which is in its final week, was criticized by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who said he was “disappointed” to have taken part.

Some Tory MPs were more scathing, with Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, describing Hancock as an “absolute idiot”.

Hancock is still paid as an independent MP and is said to have been paid £400,000 to appear on the show.

A Hancock spokesperson said: ‘Acoba’s website makes it clear that it does not consider media appearances to be an appointment or employment. The advice on the website has been followed in good faith.


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