Meet the Candidates: Team Hancock

Guido introduces you to another of the Tory leadership hopefuls – today it’s young upstart Matt Hancock who is hoping to upset the older favourites. He is publicly careful to avoid leadership challenge questions, though the youngest contender (40) did tell an Onward meeting “we need to make a generational shift in the Conservative Party”. Can the first MP to get their own app jump the generational divide?

Hancock has remained loyal to the Prime Minister throughout, although that hasn’t stopped a number of people from getting behind him already. Hancock is yet to take on any full-time campaign staff at this stage. Fortunately he already has three SpAds behind him – popular media SpAd and former CCHQ / CTF staffer Jamie Njoku-Goodwin is his main spinner, his parliamentary liaison SpAd is Allan Nixon. Nixon is also a Scot – could this be an advantage in trying to bring over the caucus of 13 Scottish Tory MPs to Team Hancock?

Hancock is receiving informal advice from Ameet Gill, David Cameron’s former Director of Strategy and the co-founder of Hanbury Strategy, where the other co-founder Paul Stephenson is advising rival contender Dominic Raab. This must make for some interesting water cooler conversations…

Hancock has also been receiving advice from Gina Coladangelo, a director at Luther Pendragon and the PR guru behind the recent surge of fashion brand Oliver Bonas. She’s been helping Hancock sharpen up his own branding and broadcast appearances…

Two MPs have publicly come out for Team Hancock – Stephen Hammond and Tracey Crouch. Hancock’s main support base is likely to be more TRG than ERG, so if Brexit is a less prominent issue he will be hoping that his reputation as a competent, energetic minister can win him broader support from MPs of all factions looking to the future. The way Hancock has neutralised the NHS as a Labour attack line in his 9 months as Health Secretary is in stark contrast to his predecessor Jeremy Hunt, it remains to be seen if the membership can be convinced…

Social media support: Hancock has 78.7k Twitter followers and his Facebook has 2.4k. Sadly no-one appears to have created a “Happy for Hancock” fan account yet, his app however has had thousands of downloads…

Mainstream media support: Hancock’s been receiving plenty of favourable coverage from the Evening Standard – the editor just happens to be his former boss. Although Hancock is keen to avoid getting pigeon-holed as Osborne 2.0, particularly on Brexit…

ConservativeHome members survey: 1.7% (13th)

YouGov public recognition: not yet included.

William Hill odds: 10/1 (6th)


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