Politics

Matt Hancock is now Britain’s most powerful man in digital

By Kitty Knowles 9 January 2018
Official portrait of Matt Hancock. Image: Official United Kingdom Parliamentary photographs 2017.
Summary

The government’s most important man in tech just got a big promotion.

Matt Hancock, the former Minister for Digital and Culture, has taken up the position of Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in Theresa May’s somewhat mocked cabinet reshuffle.

Hancock’s predecessor and former boss, Karen Bradley, has been booted over to the Government’s Northern Ireland role – where she’ll face up to some big challenges.

Hancock first full cabinet position will also give him the opportunity to show off his colourful sportsmanly side.

What else would you expect from the first MP to win a horse race?


Who is Matt Hancock?

Hancock started out as part of former Chancellor George Osborne’s clique, and was even his special adviser back in the noughties.  

However, when Theresa May came into power, the paymaster general to David Cameron felt the pains of demotion as the new PM vanquished the old guard.

This didn’t stop Hancock seizing his new junior digital role with relish, as he even managed to wangle the word ‘digital’ into place at the start of the department’s name.

He’s credited with calling for the Government’s Digital Charter: and while there’s much to mock about the idea of ‘making Britain the safest place in the world to be online’ (it’s called the world wide web), the concepts of online freedom and protection in the world of digital business have never been more topical – or important for our government to understand.

Hancock is also noted for pushing Britain’s ever maligned superfast broadband rollout up the agenda.

Leading British property tech CEO, LendInvest’s Christian Faes told The Memo Hancock was “a good guy and a great advocate for the tech sector”.

“The ‘Industrial Strategy’ sounded like we might be going back the dark ages, but thankfully, technology and innovation seems to be very much a key part of the strategy – and I’m sure Matt has played a key role in that.”

Spreading his wings

If you’re wondering how Hancock’s achievements make him a suitable representative for the rest of his new title.

Well, he just loves cricket.

As mentioned, he’s also the only MP in modern times to win a horse race, after he rode to victory in a charity race at Newmarket in 2012, raising over £10,000 for good causes.

In preparation for the race the-then 33-year-old said he took the three-month training regime seriously, losing 12kg.

“I’m knackered and my legs are like jelly,” Mr Hancock told the BBC after the race.

“My attitude is just to throw myself into things,” he added.