Three MPs Forget Armistice Silence

The UK has just held its annual two-minute silence for Armistice Day; and as usual, some MPs forgot and carried on Tweeting.

Two MPs also Tweeted photos of poppies, which Guido will let go…

Caption Contest (Major Hancock Cricket Edition)

Major Hancock Cricket

What advice is Major giving young Hancock?

GMB Catch Matt Hancock Getting Frothy

Fresh from cheekily playing footage of Matt Hancock devouring a stroopwafel when he thought the cameras weren’t rolling, ITV’s Good Morning Britain have done it again to the unfortunate Health Secretary. This time they’ve caught him getting intimately involved with the froth on his cappuccino and sucking it off his finger. You’d think he would have learned not to have his breakfast in range of the GMB cameras by now…

Runners & Riders: Who Will Be the Next Chancellor?

The reward for Cabinet ministers backing one of the two candidates is much hoped for preferment. What they would prefer most of all is to become Chancellor. The bookies’ three leading contenders are Liz Truss, Sajid Javid and Matt Hancock.

Sajid Javid is the bookies’ favourite at 5/6, Boris has noticeably referenced the Saj a few times at hustings, perhaps more than any other. Saj clearly wants the job. He has Treasury and financial markets experience so his qualifications are clear. He also is a tax cutter and the expectations are that Boris will return to the traditional Tory vote winning strategy of cutting taxes. Guido has to agree with the punters that Saj looks likely except…

Liz Truss (4/1) really wants to be the first woman Chancellor.* In line for a promotion as the first Cabinet minister to come out for Boris, and a tireless defender of him in the media. After listening to her job application / speech at a recent Taxpayers’ Alliance event, Guido really wants her to be Chancellor too. She is the darling of Westminster wonks and free market think tanks. Boris could appoint her, she would definitely make headlines. When Guido teased her recently by addressing her as “Madam Chancellor” she seemed to have difficulty suppressing a frisson. Expectations are that she will actually get BEIS. #Liz4Biz

Matt Hancock (11/2) did work in the Treasury for Osborne, understands it, would be popular choice with Treasury mandarins – which is possibly a good reason not to give it to him. Given he is doing a good job at Health he should perhaps spend some more time doing that. His ambition is unlimited and unhidden. Since the NHS is on target to be the biggest spending department, there is an argument that if power is his thing he should stay where he is…

And if Hunt wins? Guido hasn’t really given that much thought…

*Maggie wanted the job too, she had to settle for PM.

Matt Hancock’s Resignation Statement

“I’m hugely grateful for the warm and enthusiastic support I’ve received throughout this campaign, and am proud of the way we managed to set the agenda by promoting new ideas to make people’s lives better.

“I ran as the candidate of the future, but the Party is understandably looking for a candidate for the unique circumstances we face right now. 

“I have therefore decided to withdraw from this contest, and I will look for the best way to advance the values we fought for, of free enterprise, and an open, aspirational, free society, underpinned by an optimistic belief in the value of each individual person. 

“I will talk to all the other candidates about how these values can be best taken forward.”

Hancock Drops Out Of Leadership Race

Matt Hancock has confirmed he is dropping out of the race to be the next Prime Minister after securing just 20 votes yesterday. Hancock’s bid lost momentum after his problematic launch but he will feel he ran a serious enough campaign at just 40 years old to give himself the right to have another shot in the future. The Evening Standard got the scoop, not surprising given who Hancock’s old boss is…

In a blow to Sajid Javid, he hasn’t endorsed anyone yet. Perhaps because Team Hancock suspect Team Saj of leaking the news early…

Rory Stewart Jumps to Second Place With Tory Members

Looks like Rory Stewart’s ‘unique’ style of campaigning hasn’t done him too much harm, he’s managed an improbable jump into second place in the latest ConHome leadership survey. He’s still going to need at least another eight votes if the fun is going to continue. He tells The Sun he is still “one or two votes short”…

Raab and Gove have both been pushed down a place and fall under 10% for the first time in months, Hunt has closed the gap slightly while the Saj has managed to put a bit of distance between himself and the remaining candidates. Hancock looks to have cleared the 16-vote bar with George Freeman’s switch from Gove yesterday, the other three all have work to do. The membership won’t be too distraught either way, it’s just 2% for McVey and Leadsom while Hancock and Harper don’t even muster 1%…

It’s all a bit academic anyway, these are all molehills compared to Boris Johnson’s towering peak – breaking the 50% mark for the first time. His smooth launch yesterday failed to offer any kind of gamechanging gaffe his rivals need to dent his imposing lead. It’s increasingly starting to look like a race for second place…

Hancock’s Launch

Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s launch was first off the block, it didn’t go entirely smoothly. Standing next to a curious distracting dangling bag to the left of him which threatened to steal the show, Hancock’s decision to stand in front of a big bright window made him appear like a silhouette on some TV screens. Unenlightened?

At times it seemed that Hancock forgot to whom he was speaking to in the room – there were applause lines designed to trigger clapping by activists that the assembled journalists just sat through impassively. On television the shadowy speaker delivering lines that fell flat didn’t look like the future. On the plus side he had sophisticated goody bags featuring energy water, phone chargers, and his favourite stroopwaffles. It’s Gove’s turn to launch this afternoon. Will the assembled hacks be treated to a goody bag full of his guilty pleasures..?

Matt Hancock’s back story

Matt Hancock’s back story…

“I don’t think there is anything of great interest in my past.”

Hammond Wants a “Fresh Face”

This morning on Today Chancellor Phillip Hammond, alongside contemplating the need for a second referendum, revealed he would be swinging his weight behind someone in the leadership contest who is “perhaps a fresher face.” Coincidentally, rising contender Matt Hancock told the same programme just five days earlier that “we need a fresh start and a fresh face.” In fact Hancock’s entire pitch is founded on that he is a “fresh face”…

Saj Spiked ‘Clean Campaign Pledge’ Stitch-Up

It turns out Raab and Hancock’s disingenuous Tory Leadership ‘Clean Campaign Pledge‘ was never originally meant to have three signatures on it at all. Guido understands that Team Saj only got tipped-off about the pledge a matter of minutes before it was published and was able to quickly tweet his support immediately after the story was published. Team Saj say they rang round the other campaigns to tip them off too, not one campaign that Guido has spoken to was contacted directly before the pledge went live. You know your stitch-up’s going well when the only other signatory is now trying to distance themselves from it…

Damian Green Endorses Matt Hancock

First big beast to come out publicly for fresh-faced Hancock…

Hancock Gets into Sticky Situation on GMB

GMB were a little cheeky playing footage of Health Secretary Matt Hancock devouring a 356 Kcal Caramel Stroopwafel. “I love life and I love my waffles…”

“If you like a caramel waffle then have a caramel waffle, just don’t have too many and do a bit of exercise.”

If only the Health Secretary would tell that to the increasingly puritanical Public Health England…

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”.[…] Read the rest

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Hancock on Receiving End of Social Media Smear Campaign

The Women’s Equality Party has a social media campaign today bombarding the Health Secretary Matt Hancock with pictures of errrm, shrinking violets. WEP are furious with the Health Secretary for saying falling rates of cervical smear check-ups are due to women being embarrassed.[…] Read the rest

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BBC’s Genome ‘Expert’ is Tory-Hating Corbynista Who Dismissed Labour Anti-Semitism

The BBC have been having a go Matt Hancock after he gave a speech championing genomics, after a test prompted him to revealed that he had a higher risk of prostate cancer. The Beeb managed to line up some ‘experts’ like UCL’s David Curtis to label him “frankly ridiculous”.[…] Read the rest

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Courts Reject Another Jolyon Lawsuit, Order Him to Pay £8,000 Costs

Can a man ever get tired of too much winning? This is a question Jolyon Maugham must ask himself every day. As his website proudly declares, “Good Law Project’s (and its Director, Jo Maugham QC’s) success in crowdfunded litigation is a matter of public record”.[…] Read the rest

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Hancock: Government Will “Listen Very Carefully” to Calls to Remove Backstop

Matt Hancock has given the clearest public signal yet that the Government is considering getting behind moves to remove the backstop from the deal, provided Bercow calls the appropriate amendments on Tuesday.[…] Read the rest

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Hancock: Time For “Full Preparation” For No Deal

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Newsnight last night that the NHS has gone to “full no deal planning” and added that there is a need for the “whole of government” to go to that position “because it’s the responsible thing to do”.[…] Read the rest

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DD: Government Must Release “Complete” Legal Advice

David Davis has added his voice to calls for the Government to release the legal advice they have received on the Irish backstop. Davis told Today that there was “no argument whatsoever” that at the very least the Cabinet should have access to the full information before making their decision on the deal, while rejecting Matt Hancock’s suggestion on Peston last night that Geoffrey Cox answering questions in Parliament would amount to sufficient scrutiny:

“What we must see is the complete legal advice, not a summary, not something that just glides and glosses over the difficult issues, but the actual legal advice.”

Interestingly, Hancock did add that it would be a “decision in exceptional circumstances for the Prime Minister”.[…] Read the rest

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