Matthew John David Hancock (born 2 October 1978) is a British Conservative Party politician serving as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care since 2018, and has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for West Suffolk since 2010.
Hancock was born in Cheshire, where his family run a software business. Hancock studied PPE at Exeter College, Oxford and Economics at Christ's College, Cambridge. He worked as an economist for the Bank of England before becoming an economic advisor (and later Chief of Staff) to George Osborne.
Following his election in 2010, he served in a number of middle-ranking ministerial positions from September 2013 onwards under both David Cameron and Theresa May. He was promoted to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in January 2018. On 9 July 2018, after the promotion of Jeremy Hunt to Foreign Secretary, Hancock was named Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
Early life and careerEdit
Hancock was educated at Farndon County Primary School, in Farndon, Cheshire; the King's School, an independent school in Chester, Cheshire; and West Cheshire College, a further education college. He graduated from Oxford University with a 1st in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, having studied at Exeter College, Oxford. He went on to earn an MPhil in Economics at the University of Cambridge, where he studied at Christ's College, Cambridge. Hancock became a member of the Conservative Party in 1999.
After university, Hancock briefly worked for his family’s computer software company, before moving to London to work as an economist at the Bank of England, specialising in the housing market. In 2005, he became an economic adviser to the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, later becoming Osborne's chief of staff.
Hancock stepped down from his role with the party in February 2010 after being selected as one of the final six potential candidates for the West Suffolk constituency in the 2010 general election. He narrowly won the selection contest, which took place in Mildenhall, after four rounds of voting, beating Natalie Elphicke by 88 votes to 81 votes in the final round of voting.
Hancock was elected as the Member of Parliament for West Suffolk at the 2010 general election with 24,312 votes, 13,050 votes ahead of Liberal Democrat candidate Belinda Brooks-Gordon. In June, Hancock was elected to the Public Accounts Committee, the select committee responsible for overseeing government expenditures to ensure they are effective and honest.
In January 2013, he was accused of dishonesty by Daybreak presenter Matt Barbet after claiming he had been excluded from a discussion about apprentices after turning up "just 30 seconds late". Barbet said Hancock knew he was "much more than a minute late" and he should have arrived half an hour beforehand to prepare for the interview. His opponent expressed surprise that "a minister whose Government berates 'shirkers' couldn't be bothered to get out of bed to defend his own policy".
In March 2013, Hancock initiated and assisted the development of the Conservative government's minimum wage policy. Against internal and external party opposition, Hancock highlighted that most economic analyses demonstrate that raising the minimum wage had "no discernible effect on the employment prospects of low-wage workers".
In October 2013, he was promoted to Minister of State for Skills & Enterprise in a government reshuffle.
In the July 2014 cabinet reshuffle, he was promoted again, this time to Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, Minister of State for Energy, and Minister of State for Portsmouth. On 27 July he announced protection from fracking for National Parks—seen as a method of reducing anger in Conservative constituencies ahead of the election. Interviewed on the Radio 4 Today programme, he rejected the suggestion that fracking was highly unpopular but when challenged was unable to name a single village which supported it.
In his role as Minister of State for Energy, he was criticised for hiring a private jet to fly back from a climate conference and accepting money from a key backer of climate change denial organisation Global Warming Policy Foundation. In October 2014, he apologized after retweeting a poem suggesting that the Labour Party was "full of queers", describing his actions as a "total accident".
He became Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General on 11 May 2015. He headed David Cameron’s "earn or learn" taskforce which aimed to have every young person earning or learning from April 2017. He announced that jobless 18- to 21-year-olds would be required to do work experience as well as looking for jobs, or face losing their benefits.
Hancock moved to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as the Minister of State for Digital and Culture on 15 July 2016 after Theresa May became prime minister. As minister for digital policy, Hancock in June 2017 recommitted to a "full fibre" digital policy. This promises that the UK will enjoy "superfast broadband" at speeds of 24Mbit/s+ for 97% of the UK by 2020.
Secretary of State positionsEdit
Hancock was promoted from his position as a junior minister within the Culture department to the Secretary of State during the cabinet reshuffle of January 2018. he was then promoted further to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on Monday 9 July 2018.
In November 2018 Hancock was criticised after appearing to endorse a mobile phone health app marketed by the subscription health service company Babylon in the Evening Standard. Babylon allegedly sponsored the newspaper article. Justin Madders wrote to Theresa May accusing Hancock of repeatedly endorsing the products of a company that receives NHS funds for patients it treats, which contravenes ministerial guidelines. The ministerial code includes that ministers should not “normally accept invitations to act as patrons of, or otherwise offer support to, pressure groups or organisations dependent in whole or in part on government funding”.
Hancock is the first MP to launch his own smartphone app in 2018. The head of privacy rights group Big Brother Watch called the app a "fascinating comedy of errors", after the app was found to collect its users' photographs, friend details, check-ins, and contact information.
In April 2019, Hancock, who had previously said the NHS would face "no privatisation on my watch", was criticised for allowing 21 NHS contracts worth £127m to be tendered.
Hancock is married to Martha, an osteopath, and they have a daughter and two sons. They live in Little Thurlow in his West Suffolk parliamentary constituency. Hancock has one older sister and a brother. He reports having dyslexia.
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- Mikhailova, Anna (11 June 2018). "Culture Secretary Matt Hancock reveals he does not allow his children to use social media". The Daily Telegraph.
- "New health secretary is Chester-born Matt Hancock MP". Cheshire Live. 10 July 2018.
- Sabur, Rozina (8 May 2017). "Sister of government minister suffers 'traumatic brain injury' after falling from horse". The Daily Telegraph.
- Weaver, Matthew (3 October 2018). "Matt Hancock dyslexia struggles 'strengthen case against cuts'". The Guardian.
- Official website
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 2010–present
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament
for West Suffolk
| Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise
| Minister of State for Business and Enterprise
as Minister of State for Small Business
| Minister of State for Energy
| Minister of State for Portsmouth
| Minister for the Cabinet Office
| Paymaster General|
| Minister of State for Digital and Culture
| Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
| Secretary of State for Health and Social Care