Matt Hancock recently appeared in an interview with Good Morning Britain on ITV, where he was grilled by presenters about the small amount of money that he donated to charity after featuring on ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get me Out of Here!’ Following Hancock’s exit from the jungle, where he reached the final alongside co-stars Jill Scott and Owen Warner, it emerged that he gave £10,000 of his £320,000 payment to charity. Catrin Hadaway reports.
Many have argued that this £10,000 figure was far too low, especially when he was still earning his MP salary of approximately £7000 a month despite being away from work.
Hancock has time and time again displayed a lack of understanding of and empathy for the general public. It can be suggested that this scandal is yet another example of his uncalculated tactics. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, he pursued an affair with his closest aide all while telling people to remain 2 metres apart during the funerals of loved ones. In his Good Morning Britain interview, he claimed that being part of the reality TV show was a chance for him to show his true self, as it is one of the few ways “that you can really communicate with the British public”.
He also makes it abundantly clear that he feels he ought to be forgiven for the mistakes that he has made over the past three years, as he continues to remind us that he is “only human”. The politician proudly points out how he received more votes on the jungle than he ever received in his role as an MP, which he believes implies that he can move forward with his career without another glance to the past. But is it really this easy to dismantle such long established structures of distrust?
Large amounts of the public were outraged by Hancock’s absurd earnings
Rightfully so, large amounts of the public were outraged by Hancock’s absurd earnings, especially in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, when many are struggling to put food on the table. The fact that he contributed only 3% of his payment to charity only rubbed salt further into the wound. His money went towards the St Nicholas Hospice in Suffolk and the British Dyslexia Association, neither of which he mentioned by name in the interview, despite claiming they are ‘brilliant charities’. In fact, he actually spent more time attempting to promote his new book Pandemic Diaries which is suggested to have drawn in an additional £48,000 for its serialisation.
When coupled with the fact that Hancock also recently took part in the filming process of ‘Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins’ (which earned him another £45,000) it seems that he is on a cash-grabbing mission. Despite him claiming that money was not a “primary” reason for him going onto the reality TV programme, the fact that he turned down the offer twice before agreeing to make an appearance does make clear that there were negotiations to raise his fee for taking part.
Furthermore, whilst being paid to stay in Australia for 18 days, Hancock continued to earn his already large MP salary of £7000 a month. He defended the amount of money that he did give to charity by saying that it exceeded his regular wage, yet he wasn’t even at home to fulfil his role as an MP. Hancock claimed whilst in the jungle that the UK was in a stable enough political position for him to be away, even though Rishi Sunak had been appointed as the new Prime Minister less than two weeks before Hancock made his first appearance on the programme.
It appears to be a meagre attempt of arduously putting on the mask of a good person
It was also suggested that there was an agreement with the producers of ‘I’m a celeb’ that Hancock could have communication with his colleagues if a particularly pressing matter arose. Doesn’t this essentially mean that Hancock was being paid for other people to do his work? Donating money to charity is an objectively good act, but when contextualised with Hancock’s situation it appears to be a meagre attempt of arduously putting on the mask of a good person.
Although it is perhaps too extreme to judge a person by a singular mistake, Hancock continuously proves that he is not fit to hold the influence that he does. His interview on Good Morning Britain only highlights how he doesn’t appear to have learned from the mistakes he has made, despite claiming he has achieved forgiveness. If Hancock really didn’t care about the money, saying in his Good Morning Britain interview he would have done the show for £10, then it calls into question why he didn’t donate a much more significant percentage of his wage. His ploy to appear as a changed man to the British public seems to have backfired as he continues to fulfil the common discourse surrounding politicians; money is what drives them.
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