Matt Hancock has given only 3 per cent of his earnings from I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! to charity, despite using the donation as a defence for his high fee.
The former health secretary was paid £320,000 for his three-week stint on the reality TV show and has given £10,000 to two charities. Hancock’s spokesman had said that the donation would be “more than his MPs’ salary”, which is £84,144.
Today the spokesman said this only meant Hancock’s pay for the period he was in the jungle. He said this had always been the case but it is not clear where it was explained.
Hancock was on the programme for three weeks but registered his payment for 30 days of work because contestants arrive in Australia before it begins.
“As well as raising the profile of his dyslexia campaign in front of 11 million viewers, Matt’s donated £10,000 to St Nicholas Hospice in Suffolk and the British Dyslexia Association,” the spokesman said.
• Politics latest: Jeremy Hunt’s speech on UK’s economic growth
Hancock broke government rules by not consulting parliament’s corruption watchdog before appearing on I’m a Celebrity
Hancock lost the Conservative whip over his appearance on ITV and was criticised for taking part while parliament was sitting. He remains an independent MP.
The I’m a Celebrity fee is significantly more than that declared by Nadine Dorries, the former culture secretary, who was a backbench MP when she received about £40,000 for appearing on it in 2012.
Hancock revealed in the latest register of MPs’ financial interests that he was paid £48,000 for an interview and the serialisation of his book, Pandemic Diaries, in the Daily Mail and Mail On Sunday. Hancock is expected to donate royalties from the book to charity.
• How much should Hancock be blamed for Covid deaths?
Hancock received £45,000 for taking part in the Channel 4 reality programme Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, which has not yet been broadcast. He declared 80 hours of work on the programme during the autumn parliamentary recess.
Hancock was found to have broken government rules by not consulting parliament’s corruption watchdog before appearing on the shows.
The advisory committee on business appointments (Acoba) said disciplinary action would be disproportionate but criticised Hancock for not seeking clearance for employment or appointments he took on within two years of leaving office. In November Hancock said he did not believe he needed to ask the body’s permission “as the guidelines state that one-off media appearances such as these do not count as an appointment or employment”.