Matt Hancock as camp leader in 'I'm A Celebrity'
The former health secretary, who is reportedly being paid £400,000 for his time in the jungle, should also have sought approval of his decision to appear on Channel 4′s ‘SAS Who Dares Wins’.
Lord Pickles, the chair of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), which advises on post-ministerial jobs, made the ruling in a letter to Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden.
The Tory peer said he wanted “to bring to your attention a breach of the government’s Business Appointment Rules”.
Lord Pickles said: “Mr Hancock did not seek Acoba’s advice before signing up to two television series, ITV’s I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! and Channel 4’s SAS Who Dares Wins.”
Under the rules, Hancock should seek clearance from Acoba for any new employment or appointments he takes on within two years of leaving office.
In a letter to Lord Pickles earlier this month, Hancock claimed he did not believe he needed to ask the body’s permission for either show “as the guidelines state that one-off media appearances such as these do not count as an appointment or employment”.
In his reply, Lord Pickles said: “The rules are clear that an application is required where individuals plan a series of media activities and it is for Acoba to assess the associated risks.
“As such, failing to seek and await advice before these roles were announced or taken up in this case is a breach of the Government’s rules and the requirements set out in the ministerial code.”
Hancock has so far survived four public votes to remain in ‘I’m A Celebrity’.