The Last Leg host Adam Hills said he was surprised when people turned up to his mock political surgery in Matt Hancock’s constituency with “genuine issues”.
The Australian TV presenter and comedian, 52, visited the Suffolk market town of Mildenhall on Sunday to allow the locals the chance to raise their concerns while their MP competes on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
Former health secretary Hancock faced criticism from opposition politicians, from within his own party and had the Tory whip suspended for joining the reality show at a time when Parliament is sitting.
Hills appeared on Good Morning Britain to speak about the fake public drop-in, which will be shown during Friday’s episode of his comedy talk show The Last Leg.
He said: “I tell you what, everybody turned up with a genuine issue. I was really surprised, I thought people would have comedy issues but no, people wanted better access to public transport, to dentists, to doctors, all that kind of stuff.
“This was the interesting thing, at the end of it, they all said, ‘We just want to be listened to’. That was the main thing, they said we just want Matt Hancock to come here and listen to us. It’s like a marriage, you just want the other person to listen to you.”
Hills agreed when co-host Richard Madeley suggested the mood was “more in sorrow than anger”.
“Absolutely,” he said.
“People aren’t angry, they just want their MP to turn up and listen to their concerns.
“A whole bunch of people said it would just be nice to get a response, we’ve sent emails, we’ve sent letters and when that response is, ‘I’m sorry, I’m eating a kangaroo’s penis in the Australian jungle right now’, that’s kind of not what they’re hoping for.”
Hancock has previously stressed that the first thing he will do after leaving the jungle will be to return to Suffolk and hold a surgery with his constituents.
In an interview before heading into the jungle, he said: “I will be back in Suffolk holding surgeries and in Parliament and we will take it from there.
“There are lots of different ways to communicate with the public and we (politicians) are wrong if we think you can only do that on the traditional political shows where you are mainly only talking to people who take an active interest in politics.
“It’s important we engage with everyone, including young people, in who our politicians are and this programme is a good way to do that. I am looking forward to it.”
Hills was recently made an MBE for services to Paralympic sport and disability awareness at a Windsor Castle investiture ceremony with the Princess Royal.
Hills, who has a prosthetic foot, has hosted Channel 4’s The Last Leg with Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker since its inception in 2012.
It started as a show to run alongside the London 2012 Paralympics coverage on Channel 4, but due to its popularity and ratings success, it became a permanent fixture.