LETTER FROM LONDON
In recent months, British politics has offered an almost permanent spectacle: each week has brought its share of scandals, resignations or betrayals. Since the departure of Liz Truss, the failed comeback of Boris Johnson and the designation in the wake of the very serious Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street, the tempo has suddenly slowed down. The new Prime Minister hopes to restore calm, “professionalism and integrity” at the heart of power.
The show politics has continued, however, every night of the week, since on November 9, on the private channel ITV, Matt Hancock, Boris Johnson’s narcissistic health minister, landed on the reality TV show “I’ m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! ». It is a kind of “Koh-Lanta” with British sauce, shot in a lush natural park in New South Wales, Australia, whose success has not been denied for twenty years. The participants – stars of the small screen or show business – must hold out as long as possible in a hostile environment.
At the origin of a scandal in the midst of a pandemic
How many days will the MP for Suffolk, 44, smooth face and tight smile, resist? “Matt” seems in any case to have a problem of recognition. Elected for the first time in 2010 to the House of Commons, this ex-economist at the Bank of England quickly rose through the ranks of power: collaborator of Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, Minister of Culture, then of health… But his ascent was cut short when a photograph appeared in the press, in June 2021, in the midst of a pandemic, of him kissing a collaborator full on the mouth, in defiance of the rules of social distancing he had himself enacted. He had to resign, leave his wife and children and, since then, the media only mention “Matt” with commiseration or reprobation. Rishi Sunak didn’t even have a look or a jump seat for him when he formed his cabinet at the end of October.
The announcement of his arrival in the Australian jungle, at the beginning of November, provoked an avalanche of outraged reactions in Westminster, especially in the Conservative ranks, worried that the exotic adventures of the ex-minister further aggravate the very degraded reputation of the party of the British right. Matt Hancock was immediately kicked out of the Tory caucus, while a Downing Street spokesman bluntly disagreed: Prime Minister Sunak “I think that during this complicated period for the country, MPs should work hard for their fellow citizens”. Tory colleague Tim Loughton treated Matt Hancock “absolute fool” on Times Radio, while Andy Drummond, one of the leaders of the local association of Conservatives in Suffolk (where Mr Hancock is elected), declared, mockingly, to the Press Agency: “I can’t wait to see him eat a kangaroo penis. »
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