Matt Hancock broke government rules by not consulting Parliament’s anti-corruption watchdog before appearing on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!
However, further action against the former health minister is considered “disproportionate.”
Mr. Hancock’s participation in the show has sparked waves of backlash both at camp and at home.
Prior to his stay in the jungle, he had vowed to use it as an opportunity to raise awareness about dyslexia – which he finally did two days ago.
Lord Pickles, the Conservative chairman of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACoba) – which advises on post-ministerial jobs – informed Secretary Oliver Dowden of the breach in a letter on Tuesday.
He said he wrote “to notify you of a violation of the government’s Business Appointment Rules…
‘Mr Hancock didn’t ask Acoba for advice before signing up for two television series, ITV’s I’m A Celebrity…Get me out of here! and Channel 4’s SAS Who Dares Wins.’
According to the rules, Mr. Hancock will seek approval from Acoba for any new job or appointment he takes within two years of leaving office.
In a letter to Lord Pickles earlier this month, the politician had claimed he did not believe he needed to seek body approval for either show “as the guidelines state that one-off media appearances such as this do not count as an appointment or employment . ‘.
But, writing to Mr Hancock, Lord Pickles replied: ‘The rules are clear that an application is required when individuals plan a range of media activities and it is for Acoba to assess the associated risks.
“As such, failure to seek and await advice before announcing or taking up these roles is in this case a violation of government rules and the requirements set out in the ministerial code.”
Any disciplinary action would be taken by the Cabinet Office, but Lord Pickles said he believed further action would be ‘disproportionate’.
Of possible punishment, Lord Pickles told Mr Dowden: ‘It is for you to decide what appropriate action to take.
“However, given the transparent nature of Mr. Hancock’s role, which is limited to appearing in these shows, I believe it would be disproportionate to take further action in this matter.”
A spokesperson for Mr Hancock said: ‘Acoba’s website clearly states that media appearances are not considered an appointment or employment. The guidelines on the website were followed in good faith.’
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