Sunday, November 27, 2022

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From creepy crawlies to the commons, what’s next for Matt Hancock?

Matt Hancock has now survived in the jungle for more than two weeks, facing countless creatures including a particularly feisty scorpion, and surviving some truly gut-wrenching challenges.

It seems viewers at home aren’t tired of him yet as he has sailed through five public votes and outperformed several of his housemates including Culture Club star Boy George.

But the political future of the controversial MP, who lost the Tory whip on his trip Down Under, looks a little more shaky.

Mr Hancock will face a different kind of trial when he returns to Westminster after his stint on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

So what will the next few weeks hold for the man who just last year spearheaded Britain’s response to the Covid pandemic?

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at what could be in store.

Hasty exit

It is possible that Mr Hancock could choose to resign as an MP immediately, although this seems unlikely as he is under no obligation to do so.

There is a process by which voters can “remove” their elected representative before his or her term expires.

However, this can only be triggered by three circumstances: a criminal conviction, a suspension from the House of Representatives following a sanction by the Standards Committee, or a criminal offense related to false or misleading grant applications.

This means it will be up to Mr Hancock to continue serving as an MP until the next election.

Should he wish to represent that seat again, he must persuade the people of West Suffolk to support him.

This can be difficult as he has caused some uproar by parking his parliamentary responsibilities to appear on the reality show thousands of miles from home.

Frozen out

Even if he thinks he can win voters over, there’s every chance Mr Hancock will be denied the opportunity to run for Tory MP again.

The former health secretary currently sits as an independent MP after the Conservative whip was suspended over his decision to join the show at a time when Parliament was in session.

If this is not restored by the December 5 deadline for Tory candidates to declare their candidacy again, he will remain officially non-party.

At this stage, the party must begin selecting a new candidate for its seat.

If he gets the whip back by December 5, Mr Hancock could still be barred from the next general election by his local federation.

Should he wish to run again, he must submit a written application to the Executive Council, which will hold a secret ballot.

If he does not receive their support, he has the right to request a postal vote from the full members of the association.

Alternatively, he can have his name automatically included in the final list of candidates for consideration at a local party general meeting.

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