John Bercow was widely tipped to enter the showbiz jungle after leaving the political bearpit of the House of Commons.
But the retiring Speaker scuppered his chances of being on I’m A Celebrity… by allegedly demanding a £1million fee.
News of his sky-high expectations came after he called last “order” on his 10-year role yesterday.
An ITV insider last night confirmed talks had taken place with Mr Bercow but had broken down over the fee.
And a source said: “John has priced himself out of the market by asking for £1million, far more than anyone’s ever been paid on the show.
“It’s a shame, he would have been an interesting addition to the jungle gathering, not least because of his extremely extensive vocabulary.
“He is a proper character with a long career in politics. He knows a lot of fascinating people, and plenty of their secrets. But perhaps he decided to demand a crazy fee because he just didn’t want to do it?
“He’s probably terrified of spiders. Or of eating kangaroo balls.”
The show’s highest fees came last year, when winner Harry Redknapp got £500,000 and Noel Edmonds £600,000.
It is not as if Mr Bercow needs the cash. In his time as Speaker, he has earned around £1.4million in salary and will reportedly receive a pension of £38,000 a year. This year it emerged he had made around £750,000 by selling three homes.
Mr Bercow and wife Sally have lived for free at Speaker’s House in the Palace of Westminster since his 2009 appointment.
Two years after they moved in, the couple sold their three-bedroom London flat for £1.15million, a £600,000 profit on the £540,000 they paid for it.
But his spokeswoman insisted he never had any intention of joining the jungle show, hosted by Ant and Dec. She said: “There’s no way on earth he’d go on I’m a Celebrity. He has other plans.”
However, the bookies are still offering odds of 4/5 he will turn up in Australia.
Stars rumoured to be joining include Ian Wright, Kate Garraway and Nadine Coyle.
Sally took part in Celebrity Big Brother in 2011 – but was the first to be booted off. Mr Bercow’s time as Speaker has been tarnished over allegations of bullying by former members of his staff. The 56-year-old Tory, who is also stepping down as MP for Buckingham, denies the claims.
He became a hate figure for Brexiteer Conservatives after admitting he’d voted Remain even though the Speaker is meant to be impartial.
MPs choose his successor on Monday, with his well-liked deputy Sir Lindsay Hoyle the overwhelming favourite.
Mr Bercow made his final appearance in a lengthy Commons session yesterday, during which MPs paid tribute.
Labour’s Paula Sherriff told him: “Your humanity and your personal touch will never be forgotten.”
Former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch told how she had “ fallen out of love” with the chamber because of a “challenging time in Parliament” but Bercow’s intervention restored her faith.
She said: “You’ve given me the confidence to come back.”
Announcing his decision to retire from politics in September, Mr Bercow said he had promised his wife and three children the 2017 general election would be his last. He is said to have to uttered the phrase “order, order” to rowdy MPs more than 14,000 times.