The one word voters use to sum up Matt Hancock

Nadine Batchelor-Hunt

·Political Correspondent, Yahoo News UK

Wed, 23 November 2022 at 6:22 pm

EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Mandatory Credit: Photo by James Gourley/ITV/Shutterstock (13618040d)
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'I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!' TV Show, Series 22, Australia - 10 Nov 2022
Brits have some strong opinions on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! campmate and former home secretary Matt Hancock. (James Gourley/ITV/Shutterstock)

It’s fair to assume most voters have already formed a strong opinion of Matt Hancock – particularly after he flew to Australia to enter ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!this month.

And according to a new survey, those opinions are overwhelmingly negative – even for a politician.

Research conducted by Savanta ComRes exclusively for Yahoo News UK this week found the most common word people use to describe Hancock is “idiot”.

There were also multiple mentions of words too offensive to print out in full.

The former health secretary, who is still an MP, entered the jungle on day two of this year’s show.

Read more: I’m a Celeb: Charlene White worried Matt Hancock would ‘jeopardise integrity’

His decision, weeks after he announced he is writing a book about his time as health secretary called Pandemic Diaries – triggered backlash from politicians and the public, with the Tory party swiftly removing the party whip.

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‘Idiot’ was the most commonly used word used by Brits to describe Matt Hancock. (Savanta ComRes, 18-20 November 2022)

Rishi Sunak told The Sun he was “very disappointed” in the former health secretary’s decision.

“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,” the PM said.

“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.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Hancock “should voluntarily leave and get back to parliament and do his job”.

2,132 people were asked between 18-20 November: “How would you describe Matt Hancock in one word?”.

Other words among the top ten most commonly used included “bad”, “tw*t, “stupid”, “useless”, “silly”, and “weird”.

One respondent said: “[I] don’t think I’m allowed to say what I think of him, it’s not very polite.”

Around a third of the top ten words in Yahoo News UK’s poll were more sympathetic – with “good”, “funny”, and “okay” making the cut.

A respondent with a more favourable opinion of Hancock described him as a “well-educated MP who made a silly mistake but on the whole was good during the pandemic”.

Despite widespread criticism, Hancock has survived four eliminations on I’m A Celeb, with the public voting for Hancock to stay in the jungle, and as leader of the camp.

COVID-19 Bereaved Families For Justice have also condemned Hancock’s appearance on the show.

“He isn’t a ‘celebrity’, he’s the former health secretary who oversaw the UK having one of the highest death tolls in the world from COVID-19 whilst breaking his own lockdown rules,” it said.

Their remarks came in response to campaign group 38Degrees flying a banner reading “COVID bereaved say get out of here” over the I’m A Celeb camp.

Hancock was exposed as having broken the COVID social distancing guidance he himself had set while having an affair with aide Gina Coladangelo during the pandemic.

Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock gives an update on the COVID-19 pandemic at a virtual news conference at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain February 8, 2021. Undocumented migrants in Britain will still be able to get COVID vaccines without being subject to status checks, the government said on Monday. Tolga Akmen/Pool via REUTERS
Matt Hancock regularly appeared on the nation’s television screens for an entirely different reason during when he was health secretary. (Reuters)

He initially tried to resist calls for his resignation, but stepped down in June last year.

On I’m A Celeb earlier this month, Hancock said he was looking for “a bit of forgiveness” on the matter after being challenged by a fellow camp mate on the scandal.

Elsewhere, Hancock’s COVID policy on care homes was ruled “unlawful” by the High Court in April after the government discharged older patients into care homes without testing at the start of the pandemic.

He has also faced accusations that he had helped his local pub landlord, Alex Bourne, obtain a multimillion-pound contract to supply test tubes for NHS COVID testing.

And on Wednesday, parliament’s anti-corruption watchdog said Hancock had breached rules after he failed to announce he was appearing on I’m A Celeb and Channel 4’s SAS Who Dares Wins last month.

The top 20 most common words people polled used to described Matt Hancock:

Idiot

Okay

Funny

Good

Bad

Tw*t

Stupid

Useless

Silly

Weird

Pr*t

Liar

Annoying

Human

D*ck

Incompetent

Selfish

Untrustworthy

Kn*b

Cheat

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