Matt Hancock is appointed Health Secretary

The MP for West Suffolk has been promoted to one of the most senior positions in government, replacing long-standing Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

 

 

 

The new Health Secretary with Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey Picture: ARCHANTThe new Health Secretary with Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey

Matt Hancock has been chosen to replace Jeremy Hunt as the UK’s Health Secretary, following a day of turmoil for Theresa May’s government.

The former secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will take up the senior cabinet position after just eight years as an MP.

The news comes as Theresa May navigates an impromptu ‘mini-reshuffle’, following the shock resignations of senior cabinet ministers and Brexit heavyweights David Davis and Boris Johnson.

Mr Davis was replaced by ardent Brexiteer Dominic Raab, while Mr Johnson will pass the baton to Jeremy Hunt, who served as Health Secretary for six years – the longest anybody has ever held the role. Mr Hancock said he was delighted with the new appointment, tweeting: “Really looking forward to joining @DHSCgovuk at such an important time for our great NHS. I can’t wait to get started”.

A graduate of both Oxford and Cambridge universities, Mr Hancock is a former Bank of England economist who went on to be a close ally of then-chancellor George Osborne – a man not known for his support of Theresa May.

After working for Mr Osborne first as his adviser, he became his chief of staff before standing down when he ran for a seat in West Suffolk in 2010.

The new Health Secretary, who is based in Bury St Edmunds, first dipped his toes in cabinet waters as parliamentary under-secretary in the Department for Education between 2012 and 2013.He progressed to work in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and later the Department of Energy and Climate Change, before taking up the most senior role in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The father-of-three sold himself as being tech-savvy, launching his own smartphone app as a way to “connect” with his constituents.

However, the 39-year-old had to defend The Matt Hancock App over privacy concerns and was the subject of some derision.

According to a government profile, he is a cricket fan who once played the most northerly game of the sport on record with a game en route to the Pole during which he got frostbite.

His daring nature also saw him train as a jockey for a charity horse race.

The Attorney General Jeremy Wright will replace Mr Hancock as Culture Secretary.