Matt Hancock will stand down at the next election, with the ex-health secretary telling Rishi Sunak that the Tories “must now reconnect with the public we serve”.
Hancock said he had “discovered a whole new world of possibilities which I am excited to explore”, just weeks after he came third on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here.
The former senior minister, who was forced to resign for breaking his own Covid rules to have an affair, is the latest in a string of high-profile Tory MPs to announce they won’t stand at the next election.
Thirteen other Conservative MPs have announced they will not run in the election, expected by the end of 2024, including ex-chancellor Sajid Javid and Tory rising stars Dehenna Davison and William Wragg.
It comes after the Conservatives have trailed Labour by 20+ points in the polls for several months.
“I look forward to championing the issues that are dear to my heart, including better support for dyslexic children who get a raw deal from the education system,” Hancock wrote to Sunak.
The West Suffolk MP was first elected in 2010, after previously serving as George Osborne’s chief of staff and as a Bank of England economist.
He first entered the cabinet as culture secretary in 2018, before serving as health secretary under Theresa May and Boris Johnson.
His appearance on I’m a Celeb last month sparked headlines and controversy as many MPs complained that he should be working for his constituents instead of completing “bushtucker trials” in Australia.