Hancock was a surprise extra name added to the list of contenders and allies said he would use his appearance to promote his work on dyslexia.
But Chief Whip Simon Hart said the situation was so serious he should have the right to sit as a Conservative suspended.
“Following a conversation with Matt Hancock, I have considered the situation and believe this is a matter serious enough to warrant suspension of the whip with immediate effect,” Hart said.
In Hancock’s constituency, Andy Drummond, deputy chairman (political) of West Suffolk Conservative Association, said: “I’m looking forward to him eating a kangaroo’s penis. Quote me. You can quote me that.”
The West Suffolk MP was forced to quit as health secretary in June 2021 after breaking coronavirus lockdown rules by conducting an affair in his ministerial office with aide Gina Coladangelo.
Hancock was among supporters of Rishi Sunak who welcomed the new leader to Conservative headquarters last week but was overlooked for a ministerial job under the new Prime Minister.
He had also reportedly been considering a run to be chair of the Treasury Select Committee, but pulled out of the race on Monday.
Reactions to the news have been quick to pour in.
Here’s a pick of what people had to say: