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Why HealthSec Hancock should be factored in as a potential TMay successor

January 21st, 2019

The ambitious Osborne protégé who wasn’t purged by Theresa

Over the weekend I’ve been trying to look through other possible contenders for TMay’s job which might become vacant in a matter of weeks or a few months. Who are the dark horses who might be a good punt at long odds?

Of all the Tory ministers who have been wheeled out recent weeks to argue the government’s Brexit position two of them, to my mind, stand out. One is the prisons minister who used to run a province in Iraq, Rory Stewart and the other is the ambitious Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The latter was a protégé of the the former Chancellor George Osborne and a key member of his team. He entered Parliament at the 2010 General Election. He did not have to wait too long before he got promoted to being a minister and in the chopping and changing that we’ve seen post GE2017 he is now the Health Secretary.

This is part of a ConHome profile on him written by Andrew Gimson last May.

Hancock is a modern man, and that is one reason why he has bubbled to the surface. He has a capacity, and willingness, to express unbounded, if painfully bland enthusiasm for any modish cause….

He is particularly enthusiastic about digital transformation, and is reckoned by Whitehall warriors to have done well to keep it out of the hands of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, where it could equally well belong.

In February [2018] he brought out the Matt Hancock app, which produced a burst of derision at his expense, with even the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer making jokes about it..

One of Hancock’s many useful characteristics is an ability to get people to laugh with him, rather than at him. Beneath the laughter could be detected a note of respect..”

Gimson goes on to report the observation of a mandarin who worked with him.

“I have to say I never took to the man. Clearly able in a Bank of England sort of way. But devoid of principle, transparently ambitious and pleased with himself beyond measure.

Given that none of the frontrunners has appeared to have gathered any traction I just wonder whether Hancock would be tempted to put his hat into the ring. He is good communicator with a confidence that compares so well with the incumbent.

I’ve got him at 65/1 for next leader and 90/1 for next PM.

Mike Smithson