Matt Hancock: being voted camp leader makes up for 2019 Tory leadership loss | I’m a Celebrity …

Matt Hancock has said being voted leader of the I’m a Celebrity campsite “more than makes up for” losing the 2019 Tory party leadership election.

The 44-year-old Tory MP was among those who threw their hat into the ring to replace Theresa May, but he withdrew part way through the contest before putting his support behind Boris Johnson.

Sunday’s episode of I’m A Celebrity saw Hancock receive enough votes from the public to enter a head-to-head with former England rugby star Mike Tindall for control of the campsite.

The former health secretary recruited ITV broadcaster Charlene White, who he has previously clashed with over his breaking of Covid-19 guidance during the pandemic, and they were triumphant in a challenge that saw them working together to switch on a series of lights.

Ahead of the task, Tindall joked: “If I went home and I’d lost to Matt Hancock, I’d be in so much shit.”

Hancock told White: “We are definitely the underdogs”, before she replied: “Did you go into the leadership challenge thinking you were the underdog?”.

After their win, Hancock said: “Obviously, it’s a great honour and privilege to be camp leader. I want to thank everybody who voted for me.”

White said: “Does this win feel sweet, especially after you lost to Boris? Do you feel like you have been vindicated?” Prompting him to reply: “This more than makes up for it.”

However, their success prompted soap star Sue Cleaver, Tindall’s would-be deputy, to remark: “We now have a dictatorship”.

Earlier in the episode, Hancock was stung by a scorpion around camp, later telling his fellow contestants: “It was so painful … It hurts a lot and I’m feeling slightly dizzy.”

Hancock was voted to become leader of the campsite after facing his fifth consecutive trial, House of Horrors, in which he had to crawl through a giant doll’s house full of pigeons, snakes and troughs full of offal, searching for stars to feed the camp.

Asked by co-host Declan Donnelly why he thought the public kept voting for him to take part in the gruelling trials, Hancock said: “It must be the facial expressions.”

Facing his fear of snakes, the Tory MP located nine out of the 11 stars on offer, despite a snake attempting to strike him at eye level.

After returning to camp, he admitted: “I was absolutely shitting myself.”

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