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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
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byRichard Spring
Majority17,063 (33.0%)
Personal details
Matthew John David Hancock

(1978-10-02) 2 October 1978 (age 40)
Chester, England
Political partyConservative
EducationThe King's School, Chester
Alma mater

Hancock was born in Cheshire, where his family run a software business.[1] Hancock studied PPE at Exeter College, Oxford[1] 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.[2] On 9 July 2018, after the promotion of Jeremy Hunt to Foreign Secretary, Hancock was named Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.[3] 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

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.[4] He graduated from Oxford University with a 1st in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, having studied at Exeter College, Oxford.[1] He went on to earn an MPhil in Economics at the University of Cambridge, where he studied at Christ's College, Cambridge.[4] Hancock became a member of the Conservative Party in 1999.[5]

After university, Hancock briefly worked for his family’s computer software company,[6][1] before moving to London to work as an economist at the Bank of England, specialising in the housing market.[7] In 2005, he became an economic adviser to the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, later becoming Osborne's chief of staff.[4]

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.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10]

The frequency of his appearances in the House of Commons and contributions to debates are well above average, and he has voted for tuition fees, encouraging occupational pensions and raising VAT.[11]

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".[12] 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".[12]

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".[13]

Junior ministerEdit

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

In his role as Minister of State for Energy, he was criticised for hiring a private jet to fly back from a climate conference[17] and accepting money[18] 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".[16][19]

He became Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General on 11 May 2015.[20] 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.[21]

In the 2016 referendum on EU membership, Hancock voted to remain.[22]

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.[23] 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.[24]

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.[25] 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”.[26]

Hancock is the first MP to launch his own smartphone app in 2018.[27] The head of privacy rights group Big Brother Watch called the app a "fascinating comedy of errors",[28] after the app was found to collect its users' photographs, friend details, check-ins, and contact information.[29][30]

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.[31]

Hancock continued in his role as Health Secretary in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's cabinet. He supported the prorogation of parliament in 2019 which he had previously opposed while running for the leadership of the Conservative Party earlier in the year.[32]

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.[33] He proposed a televised debate with other candidates.[34] He withdrew from the race on 14 June shortly after winning only twenty votes on the first ballot.[35] Following his withdrawal, he endorsed Boris Johnson for the role.[36]

Personal lifeEdit

Hancock is married to Martha, an osteopath; they have a daughter and two sons.[1][37] They live in Little Thurlow in his West Suffolk parliamentary constituency.[38] Hancock has an older sister and a brother.[39] He reports having dyslexia.[40]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Young minister has the skills to climb to the top in Westminster". Financial Times. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Cabinet reshuffle: Greening quits government". BBC News. 8 January 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Matt Hancock replaces Jeremy Hunt as health secretary". The Independent. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Matthew Hancock". Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Matthew Hancock". 8 August 2012. Archived from the original on 8 August 2012.
  6. ^ "CANDIDATE OF THE DAY: Matthew Hancock – West Suffolk". 30 April 2010. Archived from the original on 30 April 2010.
  7. ^ "Matthew Hancock". Retrieved 8 April 2015. (subscription required)
  8. ^ "Tory hopeful Matthew Hancock moves into his new home". Newmarket Journal. 11 March 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Election 2010: Constituency: Suffolk West". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "Matthew Hancock, former MP, West Suffolk". 26 March 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Patrick Wintour (27 March 2013). "Minimum wage should be strengthened by Tories, says minister". The Guardian. London.
  14. ^ Peter Dominiczak (27 July 2014). "National parks to be 'protected' from fracking, Government says". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ a b "Tory Minister retweets 'Labour is full of queers' poem - PinkNews · PinkNews".
  17. ^ Severin Carrell (2 April 2015). "Energy minister under fire for hiring jet to fly back from climate change deal". The Guardian. London.
  18. ^ Rowena Mason (10 April 2015). "Energy and climate change minister accepts £18,000 from climate sceptic". The Guardian. London.
  19. ^ "Minister Matthew Hancock sorry for 'queers' retweet". BBC News. 2 October 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  20. ^ "The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP".
  21. ^ "Hancock: Every young person should be earning or learning from April 2017" (Press release). Cabinet Office. 17 August 2015.
  22. ^
  23. ^ "New jobs for East Anglian MPs as ministers in May government". ITV News. 16 July 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  24. ^ Mark Jackson, ISP review, "Digital Minister Matt Hancock Recommits to “Full Fibre” Broadband Policy", 14 June 2017
  25. ^ "Reshuffle: Hancock promoted to cabinet". BBC News. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  26. ^ Rajeev Syal (30 November 2018). "Matt Hancock accused of breaching code over GP app endorsement". Guardian newspapers. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  27. ^ "'Hi I'm Matt Hancock - here's my app'". BBC News. 1 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  28. ^ Burgess, Matt. "Matt Hancock MP has launched an app. And he wants all your data". Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  29. ^ "Culture Secretary Matt Hancock mocked for launching social media network". Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  30. ^ Smith, Mikey (1 February 2018). "Tory minister's new spartphone app appears to have a major privacy flaw". Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ "Matt Hancock rows back from views on suspending parliament". The Guardian. 31 August 2019. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  33. ^ Rourke, Alison (29 August 2019). "'Mad suggestion': how Tory ministers once viewed call to prorogue parliament". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  34. ^ "Hunt warns against no-deal Brexit 'suicide'". BBC News. 28 May 2019. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  35. ^ "Tory leadership: Matt Hancock quits contest". BBC News. 14 June 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  36. ^ 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
  37. ^ Mikhailova, Anna (11 June 2018). "Culture Secretary Matt Hancock reveals he does not allow his children to use social media". The Daily Telegraph.
  38. ^ "New health secretary is Chester-born Matt Hancock MP". Cheshire Live. 10 July 2018.
  39. ^ Sabur, Rozina (8 May 2017). "Sister of government minister suffers 'traumatic brain injury' after falling from horse". The Daily Telegraph.
  40. ^ Weaver, Matthew (3 October 2018). "Matt Hancock dyslexia struggles 'strengthen case against cuts'". The Guardian.

External linksEdit