Potentially the best thing you might see on Twitter today. Impressive stuff from @MattHancock in our Exercise to Music Class. Look at them moves! @Sport_England @Suffolksport @forestheath @Most_Active #KeepActiveCelebrationDay pic.twitter.com/tCdcykpP1S
— Abbeycroft Leisure (@AC_Leisure) 18 May 2018
He can sing, he can dance, he can defend the freedom of the press, is there anything Matt Hancock can’t do?
The announcement this morning by Matt Hancock that stakes on gaming machines (FOBTs) in bookies’ shops are to be cut to a maximum of £2 is being spun as a victory for anti-gambling campaigners and social justice warriors from across the political spectrum – uniting IDS and Tom Watson. It is actually a victory for casinos and amusement arcade owners who lobbied hard to hobble their competitors.
One of the main lobbyists for the change was Gabino Stergides, of the trade association for the amusement and gaming machine industry, with whom Matt Hancock is pictured above. Among the other funders of the anti-gaming machines campaign were the casinos Genting, Les Ambassadeurs Club, The Palaces and the Hippodrome Casino. Carolyn Harris, the Labour MP who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on FOBT, has been wined and dined by Simon Thomas – the owner of the Hippodrome mega-casino. The whole campaign has basically been funded by the bookies’ gambling industry rivals.
The irony is that in a casino £2 is likely to be the minimum not maximum stake. You can lose much more than £100 on the spin of a roulette wheel…
Guido is usually aligned with the demands of the ERG group of Tory Brexiters, but this time they’ve surely gone too far. Flamboyant Tory MP Michael Fabricant has suggested the UK should withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest after Brexit, asking Culture Secretary Matt Hancock:
“Does my right hon. Friend share my dismay that Brexit does not mean that we are leaving the Eurovision song contest?”
The Secretary of State shot down the idea:
“We should apply to the Eurovision Song Contest a principle that I try to apply to my life: whenever something goes wrong, we should try, try and try again, and maybe we will eventually get there.”
Karaoke lover Hancock must be tempted to enter himself…
*most inevitable narrator’s voice of all time*
There were targets for removals pic.twitter.com/8r0Lccg8Xo
— Alan White (@aljwhite) April 26, 2018
Amber Rudd told the Home Affairs select committee yesterday: “We don’t have targets for removals… if you’re asking me are there numbers of people we expect to be removed, that’s not how we operate.”
Note the subtle change in line from the Home Office last night: It has never been policy to take decisions arbitrarily to meet a target.
… Repeated by Matt Hancock on the Today programme this morning: “As far as I understand it, it has never been Home Office policy to take decisions arbitrarily to meet the target.”
Because… this 2015 report sent to then Home Secretary Theresa May by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration shows: “For 2014/15 (10 full months) the Home Office set a target of 7,200 Voluntary Departures, an average of 120 per week, with the weekly target rising to 160 by the end of March 2015. For 2015/16, the annual target was raised to 12,000.”
You would have thought that, between them, the current and former Home Secretaries would know if the Home Office had migrant removal targets. Guess who is scheduled for today’s Press Gallery lunch…
An ultra-Remainer former quango chief will receive a huge pay-off from the taxpayer despite being sacked for openly criticising the government on Brexit. Former Economist editor Bill Emmott became head of Ofcom’s Content Board in 2015; as a journalist Emmott proposed extending the single market, advocated a new EU ‘energy union’ and made an anti-Brexit film for the BBC called The Great European Disaster Movie. He is a properly fanatical Europhile…
The following year Emmott was let go having given an interview to an Italian newspaper headlined: “Outside Europe the UK dies”. He had also tweeted: “Prediction: Jeremy Corbyn will be Britain’s PM by 2020. Boris’s legacy” and “Gove scaremongers on migration free-for-all”. Ofcom bosses are subject to strict impartiality guidelines, all the more crucial in a referendum year…
Emmott took the government to the High Court over the circumstances of his departure and was granted a judicial review. Last month DCMS sneaked out a backpedalling statement:
“The parties now recognise that his departure from the post reflected changed circumstances since his recruitment and have agreed formal terms to resolve the dispute between them.”
Matt Hancock’s department has now agreed to pay a substantial sum in compensation, which Guido understands could be up to £80,000. An arch-Remainer paid off with your cash despite clearing bringing Ofcom into disrepute with his blatant anti-Brexit bias…
Silicon Roundabout’s Matt Hancock spoke at the 10 Downing Street charities reception on Monday night. Guido’s co-conspirator recounts his opener:
“Hello and welcome to Number Ten.
“Firstly, I’d like to apologise that I’m not the Prime Minister… [laughter]
“But it’s an honour to address so many people who do so much, working tirelessly every day, to make life better for the citizens of this country.”
If only there was an app where we could all share these gems…
Matt Hancock calls app Britain pic.twitter.com/QZW4QJxDeC
— Media Guido (@MediaGuido) February 1, 2018
They may have the Silicon chip but we have the Silicon chap: Matt Hancock. The Culture Secretary is calling app Britain – he has created a new social network where fans can keep up with his every move. It’s basically Facebook, but just Matt Hancock’s feed. Anyway, the internet is loving it:
Once in a while, you come across an app for your phone that you know is going to make your life better in every possible way. pic.twitter.com/8wxMJts4go
— Robert Hutton (@RobDotHutton) February 1, 2018
Deleted Tinder to make room for the Matt Hancock MP app.
— Helena Horton (@horton_official) February 1, 2018
I actually met my girlfriend on the Matt Hancock app but we tell people we met at a bar pic.twitter.com/aTssSNuCyG
— Rob Fuller (@robfuller91) February 1, 2018
anyone who fancies beers tonight, Matt Hancock me
— Alan White (@aljwhite) February 1, 2018
It’s trending on Twitter, but who uses that anymore?
Tory conference finally saw the energy and passion it has been lacking this week courtesy of the InHouse Communications karaoke night. Partygoers witnessed peak Matt Hancock as he took to the stage to sing Happy Birthday to himself, before performing a high octane duet of Don’t Stop Me Now with Therese Coffey (watch above). James Cleverly and Kelly Tolhurst attempted Don’t Go Breaking My Heart before Clevz redeemed himself with a more impressive rendition of Twist and Shout, complete with memorable hip action. Will Quince demonstrated surprising depth as he had the room hand-waving to My Way. Nigel Evans gave us Delilah, David Mundell just about made his way through 500 Miles and a Brexit-backing cross-party trio of Paul Scully, Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Ian Paisley Jnr had the room rocking to Sweet Caroline. Then it was the turn of the Lobby…
Faisal Islam took great pleasure in adapting the lyrics of Don’t Look Back in Anger to belt out “So, Boris can wait” – just the latest MSM smear. Dan Hodges and Glen Owen teamed up with Number 10 Sunday Lobby specialist Kirsty Buchanan to murder Mr Brightside. An emotional David Wooding, one arm raised aloft, sang You’ll Never Walk Alone, the only time he’ll be able to do that in Manchester. The night ended with Number 10’s Richard “Tricky” Jackson nailing You Raise Me Up. Hic…
Last night Matt Hancock was unable to name Stoke Tory candidate Jack Brereton when asked by Andrew Neil. His excuse was that he had been up in Copeland…
This afternoon Hancock did the double, getting new Copeland Tory MP Trudy Harrison’s name wrong on Radio 2, repeatedly calling her Judy Harrison. When challenged and corrected by Jeremy Vine, Hancock shamelessly tried to bluff it. For goodness sake man, go to bed.
Digital minister Matt Hancock has emailed MPs to update them on progress being made with superfast broadband in each of their constituencies. It has been less than a stunning success in North Cornwall, where the £3 million funding has not been well spent:
“Your constituency is located within the Cornwall project. The project has been allocated over £3.0m of government funding for Phase 1 and/or 2 of the Superfast Broadband Programme.
In North Cornwall Constituency the BDUK scheme has made superfast broadband available to 0 more premises.
Average take up of superfast broadband in the BDUK Cornwall project area is 0%.”
Instead of sending the awkward North Cornwall email to North Cornwall MP Scott Mann, Hancock mistakenly sent it to Labour’s John Mann. Guaranteeing it would be publicised in superfast time…
Away from Liverpool, a screen malfunction meant Matt Hancock was forced to read an entire speech at the Radio Festival staring into the words “cock gobbler”. Apparently Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills had been playing “innuendo-bingo” on the podium before his speech which is why the message was left on the screen.
Matt Hancock: Cock Gobbler. Audio here: https://t.co/L3CHbzpai6
— Patrick Foster (@patrickfoster2) September 26, 2016
Posted without comment.
The Tory MP’s endorsement awaited with baited breath almost as much as was that of Alan Mak was undoubtedly Matt Hancock’s. On Newsnight George Osborne’s former lackey last said he backed Theresa (as did Mak). Suspicion among Tory MPs is that he must have been promised a cabinet-level job for backing her. That’s bound to raise the eyebrows of those in SW1 who suspect Osborne is behind Theresa…
The reforming zeal of Francis Maude may be elsewhere post-election, but there are early signs of encouragement from his successor. Matt Hancock today announces the abolition of trade union ‘check-off’, the archaic system where union subscriptions are automatically taken from civil servants’ pay packets in a process funded by the taxpayer. Instead, public sector workers can choose to opt in to pay it and the subsequent political levy. Expect the unions to kick off, the militant PCS took Eric Pickles to court at great expense to the taxpayer when he tried to abolish check-off at DCLG. This entirely reasonable move affects 3.8 million public sector workers – at last trade union funding enters the 21st century…
Matt Hancock didn’t think much of Toby Perkins’ claim on the Daily Politics that Labour want to see a budget surplus:
Still not the best Hancock TV facial expression, however:
Matt Hancock and Chris Leslie spoke as one on Channel 4 News last night:
Frei: “The only way I can really tell you apart is by the colour of your ties.”
Hancock and Leslie: [In unison] “That’s not fair!”
Do they all look the same to him?