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”. 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)

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. WEP claim it is down to cuts to sexual health services, despite studies siding with Hancock. WEP are also spamming his Matt Hancock app…

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”. Never mind that the speech was well-received by both the British Heart Foundation and Association of Medical Research Charities. One of Curtis’s UCL colleagues even called Hancock’s speech incredible. Guido wouldn’t go quite that far but genomics is a genuinely exciting medical advance…

The Independent managed to get some even juicier quotes from Curtis including “as a health secretary, he displays a quite astonishing level of ignorance about the NHS.” However it looks more like it was the journalists who had an “astonishing level of ignorance” about Curtis. Far from being an impartial expert he’s a fully signed-up Corbynista who likes to spend his spare time calling the Tories “real bastards”.

An active Twitter user, Curtis is so much of a Corbyn fan that he has hit out at the Jewish Chronicle for reporting anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, the Union of Jewish Students for ‘exaggerating‘ anti-Semitism, and called Margaret Hodge a “dick” for expressing her “groundless fears of a “rise” in anti-semitism.” Sounds like a lovely guy…

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”. A public record which Guido is always happy to contribute to

Sadly, the Courts have cruelly denied Jolyon the chance to engage in yet more winning after his application for a Judicial Review against Health Secretary Matt Hancock was refused. Jolyon was trying to bring a lawsuit to derail the Government’s no-deal medicines planning. The Judge ruled that none of Jolyon’s four grounds were arguable, and ordered Jolyon to pay costs of £8,000 to the Secretary of State. All that winning can be a costly business – for your crowdfund backers…

The Government haven’t pushed this regulation through on the sly – the Commons actually debated this specific regulation on Monday night and Labour forced a division over it, with the Government winning 292 to 240. One Labour MP who didn’t vote against it was Jeremy Corbyn, it turns out the vegetarian Labour leader was too busy attending the British Kebab Awards to turn up to vote. Maybe Jolyon should launch a lawsuit against that too?

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. There are rumours of a mass walkout if Bercow again abuses his position to not call a Government-backed amendment with a decent chance of securing a majority…

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”. This morning’s Cabinet meeting is set to centre around the issue, with Philip Hammond set to release a futher £2 billion to government departments for planning. Several departments are named and shamed in The Sun for supposedly having only spent a third of their no deal allocations so far…

No deal will have its challenges but it can largely be managed with sensible policy responses from the UK. One unnamed Cabinet minister tells The Sun: “No Deal must look credible, and the EU must be made to understand we’re serious.” It would have done more to make the UK’s position credible if full preparations had started when May first set out her “no deal is better than a bad deal” position years ago. Better late than never…

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”. Under the Ministerial Code, the legal advice can be released if the “law officers” i.e. the Attorney General agree to it. May herself attacked Brown and Blair for not showing legal advice they had received on the Iraq War to the Cabinet and MPs, labelling it a breach of the ministerial code. The circumstances of Brexit are at least as exceptional as those of the Iraq War…

In any case, MPs may seek to take the decision out of her hands, with Tory rebels considering supporting a humble address motion from Keir Starmer in Labour’s opposition day debate next Tuesday which could compel the Government to release the advice. If there is nothing to hide in the advice, the Government can avoid the whole row by simply agreeing to release it in full…

Hancock: I “Hope” Customs Union Will Be Time Limited

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