After seven years as Britain’s longest-serving Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, yesterday, Jeremy Hunt was given a new job as Foreign Secretary. And by 9 pm, the Prime Minister’s office announced that Matt Hancock is filling his shoes as the next Health Secretary. Hancock moves from his role as Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, a post he has been in since January this year.
As the 39-year old Conservative Member of Parliament for West Suffolk settles into his new office in Victoria Street, here are five things you probably didn’t know about him:
1. He’s in favour of the UK leaving the EU and pro-private sector: Hancock’s voting record on health matters shows he is in favour of relaxing the restrictions on NHS providing services to private patients. According to the voting analysis by They Work for You, he consistently voted against restricting the provision of services to private patients by the NHS, including removing the restriction on the amount of income a trust can earn from private charges. Hancock has also consistently voted to reform the NHS to allow GPs to buy and commission services. He voted for Brexit, but for the right of EU nationals to remain.
2. He’s got his own app and is tech-savvy: that’s right – on 1st February 2018, he launched an app, imaginatively called Matt Hancock. The app consists of photos from his constituency events, as well as an archive of his speeches. Jeremy Hunt tweeted to praise his replacement’s ‘brilliant understanding of the power of technology… and the new NHS app will be in safe hands’.
3. He’s a race-winning jockey: the MP was challenged to take part in a charity horse race in aid of Racing Welfare and The Household Cavalry Operational Casualties Fund. In the three months before the race, he lost over two stones in weight. Shedding the extra load paid off: he won the race.
4. He’s played the most northerly game of cricket in history: on a fundraising trip to the North Pole for Cancer Research UK, he was told he would only get a particular chunk of funding by playing a game of cricket when he got there. So, obligingly he did so. Although, he did end up with serious frostbite.
5. He’s a fan of Ed Sheeran and Skepta: Hancock once tweeted: ‘Ed Sheeran has been amazing for the music industry this year, and the whole album is fantastic but ‘Galway Girl’ is probably my favourite song from it.’ However, don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s just into mainstream music, Hancock also claims that he listens to Skepta – the London-based Grime artist – in the back of his ministerial car.