Matt Hancock


Matt Hancock

Credentials

  • M. Phil., Economics, Christ’s College, Cambridge. [1]
  • B.A., Philosophy, Politics, Economics, Exeter College, Oxford. [1]
  • The King’s School, Chester. [2]

Background

Matt Hancock is a Conservative politician and has served as MP for West Suffolk since 2010. Following the Cabinet reshuffle on July 9, 2018, he was appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. [3]

Hancock previously served as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and held the positions of Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change and Minister of State for Business, Innovation and Skills between July 2014 and May 2015. [3]

During his time as Energy Minister, Hancock was criticised for hiring a private jet to fly back from Aberdeen to London after signing a deal on climate change with the President of Mexico. [4]

It was also revealed that Hancock had taken donations from Neil Record, a funder of the UK’s leading climate science denial lobby group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation. In 2018, DeSmog found that Hancock had been receiving £4,000 a year from Record since 2018, according to Parliament’s register of interests. [5], [6]

Hancock also caused controversy during this time when he retweeted a poem suggesting that the Labour Party was “full of queers.” He later apologised, claiming that his retweet was a “total accident.” [7]

In 2014, soon after he was appointed Business and Energy Minister, Hancock announced new measures making it harder to drill fracking wells in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. The move was perceived as a way of placating Conservative supporters ahead of the general election. In an interview on the BBC’s Today programme, Hancock denied that there was widespread opposition to fracking, but could not name any villages in Britain which supported the energy extraction process. [8], [9]

Matt Hancock has a record of voting against measures to combat climate change. For example, in March of 2016 Hancock voted against setting a decarbonisation target for the UK within six months of June 2016, with annual reviews. [10], [11]

Hancock has nevertheless made positive comments about tackling climate change and promoting clean energy, tweeting in 2018: “Hooray for the environment! 2017 was Britain’s greenest year ever, breaking 13 different renewable energy records #conservativesforconservation.” He has praised solar energy in particular as having significant potential, but said developments needed to be done sensitively. [12], [13]

Before becoming an MP, Hancock worked for his family’s computer software business and as an economist at the Bank of England, focusing on the housing market. [14]

In 2005, Hancock started working as an economic adviser to then shadow chancellor George Osborne, before becoming his chief of staff. [14]

Stance on Climate Change

January 24, 2019

In a speech at the World Economic Forum, Hancock said: [15]

Antimicrobial resistance is as big a danger to humanity as climate change or warfare. That’s why we need an urgent global response.” [15]

November 13, 2014

In a speech on government energy priorities, Hancock said: [16]

Tackling climate change at lowest costs is a huge challenge.

But I have confidence that the ingenuity of mankind can rise to these challenges as we have risen to great challenges before.” [16]

Key Quotes

February 2, 2011

In an article he wrote for The Ecologist, Hancock said: [17]

[F]or local authorities, carbon will soon be a luxury; one they can ill afford with smaller budgets. Surely, now is the time for sustainability to be taken seriously. But is there a problem?

We’re asking local government, in facing substantial cuts, to spend less, yet to meet higher and higher environmental standards, all the while maintaining the quality of service delivery, if not improving it. Are we asking the impossible?

Not at all. As Chair of an inquiry investigating how the public sector could improve the sustainability of its estate management, I have seen that local government can in fact do more – much more – with less.” [17]

Key Deeds

July 10, 2019

Hancock accepted a £5,000 donation for his leadership campaign from Rick Haythornthwaite, the chairman of MasterCard who has had senior positions at BP, Magnus Oilfield, Premier Oil, and Centrica, the owner of British Gas. [24], [26]

June 16, 2019

Hancock announced he was backing Boris Johnson in the Conservative leadership race, arguing Johnson was the best candidate to “deliver Brexit and then unite the country.” [23]

June 10, 2019

Hancock accepted a £5,000 donation for his leadership campaign from Lord James Bethell, a conservative hereditary peer, leading corporate lobbyist and co-founder of Westbourne Communications – a PR agency whose clients have included fracking company Cuadrilla, the HS2 project, and Birmingham Airport. [24]

Hancock also accepted £10,000 from Ian Taylor, chair of Vitol, a Dutch energy trading company. [24], [25]

July 11, 2018

Official government figures revealed Neil Record, Chairman of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), had been donating money to Hancock since 2011. A breakdown of the data shows Record had donated £4,000 a year to Hancock since 2011 as well as £2,000 in 2010 and in May 2017 respectively. [18]

Record is a donor to the climate science denial Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), and sits on the board of GWPF’s campaign arm the Global Warming Policy Forum. [19]

The Guardian previously reported the connection between Record and Hancock in 2015, when Record claimed to have not discussed energy policy with Hancock, but admitted to “providing research support” to the latter. [20]

May 2015

Hours after being appointed Paymaster General, Matt Hancock spoke at an event hosted by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Business for Britain and the Taxpayers’ Alliance.  The latter two being part the pro-Brexit lobbying and climate science denial network at 55 Tufton Street, with the IEA located two streets away. [21]

In the speech, Hancock made the case for free markets and outlined the conservative agenda following their success at the general election. [21]

April 2015

Matt Hancock attracted criticism for chartering a private flight from Aberdeen to London, despite many scheduled flights being available. This was during his time as Minister of State for Energy, and following a meeting where Hancock had reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions in a joint pledge with the President of Mexico. [22]

Affiliations

Social Media

Publications

Resources

  1. Richard Porritt. “Ambitious, bright and a grafter … Matt Hancock could go all the way,” East Anglian Daily Times, July 10, 2018. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/XBRqx

  2. Charles Moore. “Young Matt Hancock, the privately-educated minister fighting a childish class war on public schools,” The Telegraph, May 29, 2016. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/BgLjZ

  3. Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP,” Parliament UK. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/FtaPR

  4. Severin Carrell. “Energy minister under fire for hiring jet to fly back from climate change deal,” The Guardian, April 2, 2015. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/pt32i

  5. Rowena Mason. “Energy and climate change minister accepts £18,000 from climate sceptic,” The Guardian, April 10, 2015. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/Crc2B

  6. Chloe Farand. “New Health Secretary Matt Hancock Receives an Annual £4,000 Cash Bundle From Climate Science Denier Funder,” DeSmog, July 11, 2018.

  7. Minister Matthew Hancock sorry for 'queers' retweet,” BBC News, October 2, 2014. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/GrBOE

  8. Peter Dominiczak. “National parks to be 'protected' from fracking, Government says,” The Telegraph, July 27, 2014. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/cvu6K

  9. Georgia Graham. “Fracking: Matthew Hancock fails to name a single village that supports it,” The Telegraph, July 28, 2014. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/lWDBk

  10. Matthew Hancock: Climate Change,” They Work For You. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/5jeOz

  11. Energy Bill — New Clause 8 — Setting a Decarbonisation Target Range,” They Work For You, March 14, 2016. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/G9MhT

  12. Hooray for the environment! 2017 was Britain’s greenest year ever, breaking 13 different renewable energy records #conservativesforconservation,” tweet by @MattHancock, January 30, 2018. Retrieved from Twitter.com. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.

  13. Peter Bennett. “New energy minister Matt Hancock talks up solar’s potential in the UK,” Solar Power Portal, September 5, 2014. Archived March 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/EzmUt

  14. Anthony Marlowe. “CANDIDATE OF THE DAY: Matthew Hancock – West Suffolk,” Edelman, April 13, 2010. Archived August 15, 2011. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/FsPh0

  15. Matt Hancock – 2019 Speech at World Economic Forum in Davos,” UKPOL, January 24, 2019. Archived April 3, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/sGVFv

  16. Speech: Energy Priorities,” Department of Energy and Climate Change, November 13, 2014. Archived April 3, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/oXuuI

  17. Matthew Hancock MP. “Matthew Hancock MP: slash costs and carbon with better property management,” The Ecologist, February 2, 2011. Archived April 3, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/cz191

  18. Chloe Farand. “New Health Secretary Matt Hancock Receives an Annual £4,000 Cash Bundle From Climate Science Denier Funder,” DeSmog, July 11, 2018.

  19. Damian Carrington. “Two secret funders of Nigel Lawson’s climate sceptic organisation revealed,” The Guardian, September 2, 2014. Archived April 3, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/rsfUZ

  20. Rowena Mason. “Energy and climate change minister accepts £18,000 from climate sceptic,” The Guardian, April 10, 2015. Archived April 3, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/MCddd

  21. Rt Hon Matthew Hancock on the case for free markets,” YouTube video uploaded by user “iealondon” on July 19, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  22. Tom Bawden. “Energy minister chartered his own private aircraft from London to Aberdeen, despite numerous scheduled services,” The Independent, April 2, 2015. Archived April 3, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/CLhLT

  23. Chris Baynes. “Boris Johnson secures support of former Tory leadership rival Matt Hancock,” The Independent, June 16, 2019. Archived June 17, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/6woHx

  24. Register of Members’ Financial Interests – as at 10 February 2020,” UK ParliamentArchived March 4, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  25. Middleman implicates top executives at Vitol, Trafigura in alleged bribery ring,” Reuters, September 5, 2019. Archived March 4, 2020. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/PfBzV

  26. Board of Directors,” MastercardArchived March 4, 2020. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/GkCOL

  27. Annual Review 2019,” TaxPayers' Alliance. Archived April 24, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Other Resources

Photo credit: Chris McAndrew / CC BY 3.0