Matt Hancock’s unlikely win as jockey in horse race while MP

I’m A Celeb: Matt Hancock takes part in ‘The Beastly Burrows’

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Matt Hancock is set to meet his new campmates on tonight’s episode of the ITV reality show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!. It won’t be the firs competition he has entered, as around ten years ago, Mr Hancock shed a brilliant two-stone and took part in a charity horse race, finishing in first place at the event held on Newmarket’s course. As well as the victory, Mr Hancock, who was dubbed Action Matt at the time, also helped raise £10,000.

The West Suffolk MP opted to use the Parliament’s recess in 2012 to learn the traits of being a jockey, and rode a horse called Dick Doughtywylie. After the race, he said: “I’m knackered and my legs are like jelly.”

He added: “Coming over that line I couldn’t believe it, and that moment when all I could see were the crowds on either side, and the course and no other horses, well, I just thought someone was going to come by me, and I hung on and kicked and we got there. My attitude is just to throw myself into things.”

Mr Hancock had ridden horses prior to his jockey training, but was challenged to take part in the race by the Blue Square Cavalry Charge, part of Newmarket’s Horsemen and Heroes day.

The now 44-year-old said he needed to lose “two stone, get fit and learn how to handle a racehorse” in the build-up to the race, adding: “I had to have a big drink of water and a banana before the race but I still had to carry 2lbs of lead around with me.

“I am now looking forward to putting back on at least one of the two stone I lost in what remains of summer, so I can fit into my suits.”

As well as Hancock, other races who took part included racing presenter Niall Hannity and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries actor Nathaniel Parker.

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Meanwhile, Mr Hancock was subjected to intense criticism when it his place on I’m A Celebrity… was confirmed. Many viewers are still furious at thehim for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic while he was Health Secretary.

Critics have also ridiculed Mr Hancock, with many celebrities encouraged to take aim at the politician and ensure his time in Government is scrutinised.

But he insisted he wanted viewers to him see him “warts and all”, promising that “the real me” would be on show during his stint in the jungle.

In a video used to promote his appearance on Tuesday night, Mr Hancock said: “This experience will be an adventure. When I’m in camp, people will just see the real me. Survival in the jungle is a good metaphor for the world I work in.

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“People will see me warts and all, see the human side of the guy behind the podium. I don’t think I’ve got any fears or phobias but I’m about to find out.”

Mr Hancock had the Conservative Party whip removed as a result of his appearance on the show, and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak heavily criticised him, telling The Sun that he should “be working hard” for his constituents.

Mr Sunak continued: “I think politics is a noble profession, at its best – it can and should be – but it’s incumbent on politicians to earn people’s respect and trust.

“They do that by working hard for their constituents, as the vast majority of MPs do – that is why I was very disappointed with Matt’s decision.”

Mr Hancock has promised he would still be contactable for constituency issues, despite being thousands of miles away in the Australian jungle.

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! airs from 9pm on ITV and ITV Hub tonight.

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