Open main menu

Matthew John David Hancock (born 2 October 1978) is a British politician serving as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care since 2018. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for West Suffolk since 2010.


Matt Hancock
Official portrait of Matt Hancock crop 2.jpg
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Assumed office
9 July 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded byJeremy Hunt
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
In office
8 January 2018 – 9 July 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byKaren Bradley
Succeeded byJeremy Wright
Minister of State for Digital and Culture
In office
15 July 2016 – 8 January 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byEd Vaizey
Succeeded byMargot James
Minister for the Cabinet Office
Paymaster General
In office
11 May 2015 – 14 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byFrancis Maude
Succeeded byBen Gummer
Minister of State for Business and Enterprise
In office
15 July 2014 – 11 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byMichael Fallon
Succeeded byAnna Soubry
Minister of State for Energy
In office
15 July 2014 – 11 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byMichael Fallon
Succeeded byAndrea Leadsom
Minister of State for Portsmouth
In office
15 July 2014 – 11 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byMichael Fallon
Succeeded byMark Francois
Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise
In office
8 September 2013 – 15 July 2014
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byJohn Hayes
Succeeded byNick Boles
Member of Parliament
for West Suffolk
In office
6 May 2010 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byRichard Spring
Majority17,063 (33.0%)
Personal details
Born
Matthew John David Hancock

(1978-10-02) 2 October 1978 (age 41)
Chester, England
NationalityBritish
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)
Martha Hoyer Millar (m. 2006)
Children3
EducationThe King's School, Chester
Alma mater
Websitewww.matt-hancock.com

Hancock was born in Cheshire, where his family run a software business. Hancock studied Philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) at Exeter College, Oxford and Economics at Christ's College, Cambridge. He was an economist at the Bank of England before becoming an economic advisor (and later chief of staff) to George Osborne.

Hancock served in a number of middle-ranking ministerial positions from September 2013 under both David Cameron and Theresa May. He was promoted to the Cabinet in the 2018 cabinet reshuffle where he was appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in January 2018.[1] On 9 July 2018, after the promotion of Jeremy Hunt to Foreign Secretary, Hancock was named Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.[2] On 25 May 2019, Hancock announced his intention to stand in the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election. He withdrew from the race on 14 June shortly after the first ballot.

Early life and careerEdit

Matthew John David Hancock was born on 2 October 1978 in Chester, Cheshire to Michael Hancock and Shirley Hills (now Carter).[3] Hancock attended Farndon County Primary School, in Farndon, Cheshire, and the independent King's School, Chester. He later studied computing at the further education college, West Cheshire College.[4][5] He graduated from Exeter College, Oxford with a 1st in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and went on to earn an MPhil in Economics at Christ's College, Cambridge.[5][6] Hancock became a member of the Conservative Party in 1999.[7]

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.[6][8]

Hancock was selected as the Conservative candidate for the West Suffolk in January 2010. He narrowly won the contest, defeating Natalie Elphicke (solicitor and wife of politician Charlie Elphicke), by 88 votes to 81 in the final ballot.[9]

Parliamentary careerEdit

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.[10] 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.[11] He served on this committee until November 2012. Hancock has also served on the Standards and Privileges Committee between October 2010 and December 2012.[12]

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".[13] 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. An activist who was due to appear with Hancock expressed surprise that "a minister whose Government berates 'shirkers' couldn't be bothered to get out of bed to defend his own policy".[13]

Junior ministerial rolesEdit

In October 2013, he was promoted to Minister of State for Skills & Enterprise in a government reshuffle.[14]

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[15]—seen as a method of reducing anger in Conservative constituencies ahead of the election.[16] 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.[16][17]

In his role as Minister of State for Energy, he was criticised for hiring a private jet to fly back from a climate conference[18] and accepting money[19] 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".[17][20]

Hancock became Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General on 11 May 2015.[21] 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.[22]

In the 2016 UK referendum on EU membership, Hancock supported the UK remaining within the EU.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25]

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and SportEdit

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.[26]

Secretary of State for Health and Social CareEdit

He was promoted further to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on Monday 9 July 2018.[27]

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”.[28]

Hancock is the first MP to launch his own smartphone app in 2018.[29] The head of privacy rights group Big Brother Watch called the app a "fascinating comedy of errors",[30] after the app was found to collect its users' photographs, friend details, check-ins, and contact information.[31][32]

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.[33]

Hancock continued in his role as health secretary in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's cabinet. He supported the prorogation of parliament in 2019 by Johnson which he had previously opposed while running for the leadership of the Conservative Party earlier in the year.[34] The prorogation was later ruled on 24 September as unlawful by the Supreme Court.[35]

In September 2019 Hancock was asked, in a Channel 4 News interview, to respond to allegations, made by journalist Charlotte Edwardes, that Boris Johnson had, at a private lunch in 1999, groped her leg under a table. Edwardes also claimed that Johnson did the same to another woman at the same private lunch. In his reply to the Channel 4 News question, Hancock said of Charlotte Edwardes, 'I know Charlotte well and I entirely trust what she has to say. I know her and I know her to be trustworthy', a view shared by fellow Conservative MP Amber Rudd. Both Johnson and anonymous Downing Street officials denied the allegation.[36][37][38] Hancock drew criticism in November 2019, following the total seclusion of 18-year-old Bethany, an autistic teenager, for almost 3 years in the tiny rooms of psychiatric facilities across Britain. The minister publicly apologized “for the things that have gone wrong in her care” and claimed that her case in particular was “incredibly difficult and complex”. Bethany’s case attracted national attention towards the detention of hundreds of young people, living with autism or other learning disabilities in Britain, and demanded an inquiry into the mental health system by a parliamentary committee.[39]

2019 Conservative Party leadership candidacyEdit

After Theresa May announced her intention to resign as Prime Minister Hancock announced his intention to stand for the Conservative Party leadership. During this campaign, Hancock opposed the prorogation of parliament to deliver Brexit and called on his fellow leadership candidates to join him on 6 June 2019.[40] He proposed a televised debate with other candidates.[41] He withdrew from the race on 14 June shortly after winning only twenty votes on the first ballot.[42] Following his withdrawal, he endorsed Boris Johnson for the role.[43]

Personal lifeEdit

Hancock married Martha Hoyer Millar, an osteopath, in 2006.[3] She is a granddaughter of Frederick Millar, 1st Baron Inchyra.[44] They have a daughter and two sons.[6][45] They live in Little Thurlow in his West Suffolk parliamentary constituency.[46] Hancock has an older sister and a brother.[47] He reports having dyslexia.[48]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Cabinet reshuffle: Greening quits government". BBC News. 8 January 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Matt Hancock replaces Jeremy Hunt as health secretary". The Independent. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Hancock, Rt Hon. Matthew (John David)". UK Who's Who. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  4. ^ Whittaker, Freddie (24 April 2014). "Matthew Hancock MP, skills minister". FE Week. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Cabinet role for MP Matt Hancock". King's School Chester. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "Young minister has the skills to climb to the top in Westminster". Financial Times. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Matthew Hancock". www.parliament.uk. 8 August 2012. Archived from the original on 8 August 2012.
  8. ^ Thomson, Alice; Sylvester, Rachel (4 May 2019). "Matt Hancock interview: 'Voters want the centre, not the extremes'". The Times. Retrieved 18 October 2019.(subscription required)
  9. ^ Gimson, Andrew (10 May 2018). "Profile: Matt Hancock, the Osborne acolyte who managed to survive and prosper". Conservative Home. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  10. ^ "Election 2010: Constituency: Suffolk West". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  11. ^ "Members of the 2010 intake dominate the Conservative membership of Select Committees Tory MPs". Conservative Home. 24 June 2010. Archived from the original on 27 June 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Rt Hon Matt Hancock". parliament.uk. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  13. ^ a b Peter Dominiczak (11 January 2013). "Hancock's half-hour: Tory minister accused of 'dishonesty' about missed TV appearance". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  14. ^ "Who is Matt Hancock? Meet David Cameron's new business minister". City A.M. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  15. ^ Peter Dominiczak (27 July 2014). "National parks to be 'protected' from fracking, Government says". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  16. ^ a b Georgia Graham (28 July 2014). "Fracking: Matthew Hancock fails to name a single village that supports it". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  17. ^ a b "Tory Minister retweets 'Labour is full of queers' poem - PinkNews · PinkNews". www.pinknews.co.uk. 2 October 2014.
  18. ^ Severin Carrell (2 April 2015). "Energy minister under fire for hiring jet to fly back from climate change deal". The Guardian. London.
  19. ^ Rowena Mason (10 April 2015). "Energy and climate change minister accepts £18,000 from climate sceptic". The Guardian. London.
  20. ^ "Minister Matthew Hancock sorry for 'queers' retweet". BBC News. 2 October 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  21. ^ "The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP". Gov.uk.
  22. ^ "Hancock: Every young person should be earning or learning from April 2017" (Press release). Cabinet Office. 17 August 2015.
  23. ^ "EU vote: Where the cabinet and other MPs stand". BBC News. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  24. ^ "New jobs for East Anglian MPs as ministers in May government". ITV News. 16 July 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  25. ^ Mark Jackson, ISP review, "Digital Minister Matt Hancock Recommits to “Full Fibre” Broadband Policy", 14 June 2017
  26. ^ "Reshuffle: Hancock promoted to cabinet". BBC News. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  27. ^ "Rt Hon Matt Hancock". gov.uk. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  28. ^ Rajeev Syal (30 November 2018). "Matt Hancock accused of breaching code over GP app endorsement". Guardian newspapers. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  29. ^ "'Hi I'm Matt Hancock - here's my app'". BBC News. 1 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  30. ^ Burgess, Matt (February 2018). "Matt Hancock MP has launched an app. And he wants all your data". Wired UK. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  31. ^ "Culture Secretary Matt Hancock mocked for launching social media network". sky.com. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  32. ^ Smith, Mikey (1 February 2018). "Tory minister's new spartphone app appears to have a major privacy flaw". mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  33. ^ Kentish, Benjamin (6 April 2019). "NHS offering £127m of contracts to private companies despite health secretary pledging: 'No privatisation on my watch'". The Independent. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  34. ^ "Matt Hancock rows back from views on suspending parliament". The Guardian. 31 August 2019. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  35. ^ "Supreme Court: Suspending Parliament was unlawful, judges rule". BBC News. 24 September 2019. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  36. ^ Proctor, Kate; Stewart, Heather (29 September 2019). "No 10 denies claims Boris Johnson squeezed journalist's thigh". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  37. ^ "No 10 denies Johnson 'thigh squeeze' claim". BBC News online. 29 September 2019. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  38. ^ "Boris Johnson denies groping allegation after backing from Javid". The Guardian. 30 September 2019. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  39. ^ "U.K. Minister Apologizes for Case of Teen With Autism Kept in Seclusion". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  40. ^ Rourke, Alison (29 August 2019). "'Mad suggestion': how Tory ministers once viewed call to prorogue parliament". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  41. ^ "Hunt warns against no-deal Brexit 'suicide'". BBC News. 28 May 2019. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  42. ^ "Tory leadership: Matt Hancock quits contest". BBC News. 14 June 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  43. ^ Hancock, Matt (16 June 2019). "Matt Hancock: Boris and I have had our differences but he's the one to unite us". Retrieved 17 June 2019 – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
  44. ^ "Hancock/Hoyer Millar engagement". The Daily Telegraph. 18 October 2005.
  45. ^ Mikhailova, Anna (11 June 2018). "Culture Secretary Matt Hancock reveals he does not allow his children to use social media". The Daily Telegraph.
  46. ^ "New health secretary is Chester-born Matt Hancock MP". Cheshire Live. 10 July 2018.
  47. ^ Sabur, Rozina (8 May 2017). "Sister of government minister suffers 'traumatic brain injury' after falling from horse". The Daily Telegraph.
  48. ^ Weaver, Matthew (3 October 2018). "Matt Hancock dyslexia struggles 'strengthen case against cuts'". The Guardian.

External linksEdit