Matt Hancock | Srivideo
Born Name: Matthew John David Hancock
Date of Birth: 2 October 1978
Place of Birth: Chester, England
Political party: Conservative
Spouse(s): Martha Hoyer Millar (m. 2006)
Education: Exeter College, Farndon Primary School, Christ's College Cambridge, West Cheshire College, The King's School
Alma mater: University of Oxford, University of Cambridge
Matthew John David Hancock (born 2 October 1978) is a senior 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.
Hancock was born in Cheshire, where his family runs a software business. Hancock studied for a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Exeter College, Oxford, and an MPhil in Economics at Christ's College, Cambridge, as a postgraduate student. He was an economist at the Bank of England before serving as a senior 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 January 2018 cabinet reshuffle when he was appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. On 9 July 2018, after the promotion of Jeremy Hunt to Foreign Secretary, Hancock was named Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. 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 career
Matthew John David Hancock was born on 2 October 1978 in Chester, Cheshire, to Michael Hancock and Shirley Hills (now Carter). 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. He studied at Exeter College, Oxford, and graduated with a first in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and went on to Christ's College, Cambridge, to earn an MPhil degree in Economics. 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 was selected as the Conservative candidate for 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.
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. He served on this committee until November 2012. Hancock has also served on the Standards and Privileges Committee between October 2010 and December 2012.
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. 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".
Junior ministerial roles
In October 2013, Hancock joined the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills as the Minister of State for Skills & Enterprise.
On 15 July 2014, Hancock was appointed to the position of Minister of State for Business and Enterprise. He also took on additional responsibilities as the 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 apologised after retweeting a poem suggesting that the Labour Party was "full of queers", describing his actions as a "total accident".
Hancock 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.
In the 2016 UK referendum on EU membership, Hancock supported the UK remaining within the EU.
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 promised that 97% of the UK would enjoy "superfast broadband" at speeds of at least 24 megabits per second by 2020.
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
On 8 January 2018, Hancock was appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in Theresa May's 2018 cabinet reshuffle, succeeding Karen Bradley.
In early 2018, Hancock was the first MP to launch his own smartphone app. 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.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Following the appointment of Jeremy Hunt to the position of Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Hancock was appointed 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".
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 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. The prorogation was later ruled on 24 September as unlawful by the Supreme Court.
In a September 2019 Channel 4 News interview, Hancock was asked to respond to allegations Boris Johnson had, at a private lunch in 1999, groped the leg of journalist Charlotte Edwardes 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.
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 apologised "for the things that have gone wrong in her care" and claimed 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.
On 31 January 2020, COVID-19 was confirmed to have spread to the UK, during the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic. Hancock said that the government was considering "some quite significant actions that would have social and economic disruption". After the government gave strict social distancing advice which was defied by large numbers of people, Hancock took a stronger line than the prime minister on condemning those still socialising in groups and derided them as being "very selfish". On 27 March, along with Boris Johnson, Hancock himself tested positive for COVID-19.
2019 Conservative Party leadership candidacy
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. He proposed a televised debate with other candidates. He withdrew from the race on 14 June shortly after winning only twenty votes on the first ballot. Following his withdrawal, he endorsed Boris Johnson for the role.
Hancock married Martha Hoyer Millar, an osteopath, in 2006. She is a granddaughter of Frederick Millar, 1st Baron Inchyra. They have a daughter and two sons. They live in Little Thurlow in his West Suffolk parliamentary constituency. Hancock has an older sister and a brother. He reports having dyslexia. He also supports Newcastle United, and was presented a signed shirt of the 2019/20 season which he keeps in his private office.
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