MATT Hancock is off to the jungle.

The Prime Minister (the latest one) is angry with him. Tory MPs are angry with him (he’s lost the whip) and the tabloids are divided between those outraged, and those salivating at the prospect of a sunburnt former Health Secretary munching his way through marsupial unmentionables.

We’ve been here before, of course. Nadine Dorries—a Tory MP with only a passing acquaintanceship with the truth—found herself up to the oxters in witchetty grubs in the same jungle some years ago.

She’d apparently thought moonlighting as an author of bodice-ripping pulp fiction meant her part-time status as an MP was already tolerated.

The whips took a different view and suspended her. But then they let her back into the fold.

And Boris Johnson thought so highly of her, he made her Culture Secretary. A post she recently quit not long before the Culture Select Committee published a unanimous report concluding, in blunt terms, that she’s been untruthful in her testimony before them.

She’d invented a whole story about her absence from parliament on another reality show. Channel 4 had sent her to live in a tough housing estate with real people and survive on their food rations.

Her host family grew to loathe her and she them, it seems. She claimed they were professional actors and told the Committee so, forgetting that her life in fiction should be reserved for her publisher.

Knowingly misleading Parliament is serious, and there may be fallout. Her longed-for seat in the House of Lords now hangs in the balance.

It’s not just the Tories who’ve felt the heat.

Scottish Labour’s Kezia Dugdale took time out from Holyrood for a brief jungle interlude too. Kez gave the same set of excuses they all do, that she wanted to educate and engage with the public about politics.

Shortly after George Galloway offered up this excuse, he found himself in a cat suit on his knees in the Big Brother House purring and lapping milk while being stroked and called ‘pretty kitty’ by a fellow housemate.

Of course, they all say it’s not about the money (a reputed £100,000 in Hancock’s case).

More often than not, they promise to donate an unspecified amount to “charity” (though we never seem to hear exactly what percentage it is).

And there never seems to be a peak in political engagement when they depart their respective shows. So those hours spent chatting about trickle-down economics with Ant and Dec are unlikely to produce the political dividends Matt Hancock suggests.

But is there anything wrong with MPs having a bit of fun and letting their paunch down?

Well yes and no. Everyone’s allowed a day off. And it’s good to have politicians with a hinterland.

It’s just they shouldn’t move to one. Especially when they’re meant to be at work.

Being an MP is hard work if you do it properly.

You’ll have an amazing office team if you’re as lucky as me. But you’re the boss when the big calls have to be made.

And you’re the last port of call for constituents in trouble.

You can’t do the job if you’re in the jungle.