Matt Hancock has insisted that Rishi Sunak is “great” and was forced to admit people may be “angry” by his decision to join I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! When questioned by fellow campmates.
The former health secretary entered the jungle on Wednesday along with fellow late arrival comedian Seann Walsh.
The West Suffolk MP had been criticised for his decision to compete on the reality show from across the political spectrum, including Prime Minister Sunak.
Hancock had the Conservative Party whip removed after the announcement of his involvement with the ITV programme and Sunak said he was “very disappointed”.
Hancock, along with Walsh, also failed to impress in their first Bushtucker Trial of the series.
Their arrival was met with some disappointment from campmates after they secured only six of the 11 stars available in their first challenge.
There was also some confusion over who Hancock was when he first met his fellow contestants.
Radio DJ Chris Moyles paid a visit to the Bush Telegraph where he said: “Oh my god, two new people have arrived.
“One of them is Seann Walsh and the other one… I’ve got to go back and double check!”
Later, soap star Sue Cleaver added: “I don’t know what to say.”
Journalist Charlene White quizzed both Hancock and Walsh about their Bushtucker performance asking: “Have you won us stars?”
After Hancock confirmed there were 11 stars up for grabs in total, Coronation Street actress Cleaver appeared disappointed, saying: “Eleven… yeah…”
Comedian Babatunde Aleshe, who completed a solo task on the previous episode and gained all nine stars on offer to him, added: “I got a full house so… you guys got a lot to live up to.”
Later, speaking in the Bush Telegraph, Hancock said: “They weren’t desperately impressed with six stars were they?”
To which Walsh laughed, replying: “They were not!”
In a later conversation with White, Hancock told the journalist and TV presenter he took the decision to join the show because there is now “stability” in UK politics.
He also praised Mr Sunak, calling him “great”.
Hancock told White: “If I can use this to sort of peel myself back a bit and just be me, it’s better.”
She replied: “But I can imagine it would not have gone down well at all at home? You have to expect that because Parliament is still sitting, we’re not in recess, you know…?”
He told her: “I genuinely think that because we’ve now got sort of stability, that is…”
White said: “We’ve had stability for all of five minutes Matt.”
Hancock replied: “Rishi’s great, he’ll be fine.”
Asked by White if he could understand if people were not happy about his appearance, he said: “I understand that but I also.. of course I get that, right. But I also just think that sometimes you’ve got to do things differently.”
Following the surprise of Hancock’s arrival, the campmates began to joke about the MP’s time doing televised coronavirus press conferences.
Moyles, 48, asked: “You’ve got to get it out of the way for me – please just say: ‘Next slide please’, and I’m really happy.”
After Hancock willingly said: “Next slide please, Culture Club frontman Boy George told him: “You’re really going to get it. You’re really going to get it. Not from me I mean, just from…”
TV presenter and property expert Scarlette Douglas also appeared interested in Hancock, asking him: “Why did you decide to come in?”
He replied: “Why? Because, all politicians are known – and me in particular – for being in a very sort of strict way of being, which is just not actually how we are.”
Douglas, 35, then asked: “How would you say you were?”
“More human than that,” Hancock replied.
When Cleaver told Hancock he was “a brave man”, he said: “Well, we’ll see how it goes.”
Douglas added: “I’m looking forward to getting to know you outside of everything else. That’s going to be good. Just be your authentic self.”
In the Bush Telegraph she appeared open to getting to know the MP, saying: “To be fair, everyone’s human. We all have our own personalities outside what we are seen in the media.
“So listen, Matt Hancock has come on, he obviously has something to prove, so hey, everyone’s got their own reasons as to why they’re here.”
When questioning campmate Walsh’s Black-182 tattoo, Hancock also admitted he did “not really” know who the US band were.
Elsewhere in Wednesday’s episode, Hancock and Walsh discovered they would be undercover moles in the main camp and were given a series of secret missions to undertake to earn the campmates their luxury items.
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! continues on ITV.