Matthew Hancock MP

24 Nov 2012 12:09:15

Tory MPs - and Michael Gove - react to Rotherham council UKIP foster parents story

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

Paul Goodman and Harry Phibbs have already covered this strange case of UKIP-supporting foster parents having children taken away from them by the council in Rotherham. Such a breach of political freedom and liberty has been greeted with concern by a number of Tory MPs - including the Education Secretary, Michael Gove - in tweets and elsewhere. I have collected some below.

Gove pointingMichael Gove has released a statement (via here):

"Rotherham have made the wrong decision in the wrong way for the wrong reasons. Rotherham's reasons for denying this family the chance to foster are indefensible. The ideology behind Rotherham's decision is actively harmful to children. We should not allow considerations of ethnic or cultural background to prevent children being placed with loving and stable families. We need more parents to foster and many more to adopt. Any council that decides supporting a mainstream UK political party disbars an individual from looking after children in care is sending a dreadful signal that will only decrease the number of loving homes available to children in need."

Continue reading "Tory MPs - and Michael Gove - react to Rotherham council UKIP foster parents story" »

22 Oct 2012 15:31:06

Conservative Select Committee appointments announced

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

SelectCommittesGuido Fawkes has a list of new Conservative members of Select Committees, from Graham Brady's office. Mr Brady explains: "For the following committees I have received the same number of nominations as there are vacancies, the following are therefore elected". The appointments are:

Communities and Local Government

John Stevenson (Carlisle), replacing George Hollingbery (Meon Valley), who became PPS to Theresa May at the reshuffle.

Education

Chris Skidmore (Kingswood), replacing Damian Hinds (East Hampshire), who became PPS to Mark Francois, the Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans.

Health

Andrew Percy (Brigg and Goole), replacing Dr Daniel Poulter (Central Suffolk and North Ipswich), who was made the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Health Services.

Continue reading "Conservative Select Committee appointments announced" »

5 Sep 2012 20:21:19

Full post-reshuffle list of Ministers

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

Following on from the last few days' rolling blogs, I have below a final list of the MPs (and Baroness Warsi) appointed as Ministers for each department. I have put new appointments in bold.

Cabinet Office

  • Minister for the Cabinet Office, Paymaster General – Rt Hon Francis Maude MP
  • Minister for Government Policy – Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP
  • Minister of State – Rt Hon David Laws MP (jointly with the Department for Education)
  • Parliamentary Secretary – Nick Hurd MP
  • Parliamentary Secretary – Chloe Smith MP

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

  • Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills; and President of the Board of Trade – Rt Hon Dr Vincent Cable MP
  • Minister of State (Universities and Science) – Rt Hon David Willetts MP
  • Minister of State – Michael Fallon MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Jo Swinson MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Matthew Hancock MP (jointly
  • with the Department for Education)

Department for Communities and Local Government

  • Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP
  • Senior Minister of State (Faith and Communities) – Rt Hon Baroness Warsi (jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
  • Minister of State (Housing) – Mark Prisk MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Planning) - Nicholas Boles MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Rt Hon Don Foster MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Brandon Lewis MP

Continue reading "Full post-reshuffle list of Ministers" »

20 Aug 2012 11:02:30

First past the post, Matt Hancock MP wins charity horse race, loads of street cred and raises £10,000 for good causes

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter

HancockCuttings

As part of my dedication to cover all things Conservative I went to Newmarket on Saturday to watch West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock ride in a charity horse race. Matt has certainly taken the challenge seriously, exercising for two hours per day in the last fortnight and losing more than two stones in weight over the last ten weeks. His friends told me that they'd been away on holiday with him, in France, and he'd resisted all win and cheese throughout. His reward came just after 5.35pm on Saturday when he won his charity race by a good few lengths. As well as a number of people who'd ridden before one of the other riders was actor Nathaniel Parker, who is the star of the Inspector Lynley Mysteries. Here is the Eastern Daily Press' report.

Newmarket and his Suffolk seat is a big centre of the racing industry and Matt will have won a lot of admirers with his enterprise. In addition to oodles of good publicity and street cred it's deepened his understanding of an important local industry.

Continue reading "First past the post, Matt Hancock MP wins charity horse race, loads of street cred and raises £10,000 for good causes" »

20 Jul 2012 09:31:17

"Outrageous". "Unforgivable". "Unpatriotic". Tory MPs take to Twitter to condemn anti-British Olympics strikes

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter

Lots of Tory MPs reacted angrily yesterday to the decision of the PCS union to disrupt border control on the eve of the Olympics. Here's a selection of what they Tweeted:

Screen Shot 2012-07-20 at 09.04.26
Screen Shot 2012-07-20 at 09.04.44
Screen Shot 2012-07-20 at 09.05.06
Screen Shot 2012-07-20 at 09.05.35
Screen Shot 2012-07-20 at 09.05.46
Screen Shot 2012-07-20 at 09.06.22
Screen Shot 2012-07-20 at 09.06.00
Screen Shot 2012-07-20 at 09.06.45
Screen Shot 2012-07-20 at 09.07.01

My hope is that the anger that we felt yesterday and today is not forgotten. We need to embrace the strike threshold laws that have long been advocated by the CBI, Policy Exchange and Boris Johnson - and supported by Tory members. Rob Halfon MP is right. We need to make a distinction between the many excellent union members and some of their very well-paid leaders who are intent on political warfare rather than representing those members. We have to take action, however, against the unions who enjoy heavy subsidy from the taxpayer and use those subsidies to organise in the way that the PCS organises - to disrupt the Olympics and embarrass Britain at a moment when the world and global investors are watching us.

28 Jun 2012 10:00:07

Cameron, Osborne and Tyrie react to Barclays scandal

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

2.30pm Steve Baker MP has called for Bob Diamond, the Barclays CEO, to resign:

"Yes I do think Bob Diamond should resign, and I think more than that - the various authorities should be looking extremely carefully at whether any offences have been committed."

2pm David Cameron appeared on the BBC news channel this afternoon. He said the Government will take more action if more action is deemed necessary:

"In terms of what happens next, I would say that the regulators should use all the powers and means at their disposal to pursue this in the ways that they feel are appropriate. I’d also make the point that this happened some years ago under the previous government with the rules in place with the previous government. We are changing those rules and if there’s more we need to do to toughen that up, we’ll take that actions. We’ve already taken a lot of action to make sure we regulate our banks and financial services appropriately, but if there’s more that needs to be done, we’ll do it."

1pm update:

George Osborne made a statement to the House this afternoon. The Chancellor said that the FSA inquiry into Barclays demonstrates "systemic failures" in the financial system:

"It is clear that what happened at Barclays and potentially other banks was completely unacceptable, was symptomatic of a financial system that elevated greed above all other concerns and brought our economy to its knees."

Continue reading "Cameron, Osborne and Tyrie react to Barclays scandal" »

10 Jun 2012 08:47:49

Tory MP Matthew Hancock learns to be a jockey in charity bid

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter

Hancock Riding

Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, and pictured above has to lose twenty pounds over the next ten weeks as part of his bid to take part in a 'Horsemen and Heroes' charity race at Newmarket race course in his constituency.

The diet is only a small part of an intensive training programme that will culminate in a full assessment of his jockey-ing abilities on 18th June at the British Racing School.

In a press release Matt Hancock commented:

“I have long thought that taking part in a cavalry charge would be the most exhilarating thing possible. The Newmarket Cavalry Charge isn't quite the Battle of Omdurman, but it is a thrilling prospect for two fantastic charities. As the MP for Newmarket the international home of horseracing, and I am delighted to have the rare chance to actually race on the famous July Course. I don't know if I'll be more stretched by the prospect of shedding 20 pounds or by learning how to handle a racehorse, but I’ll be putting in a lot of hard work over the next 10 weeks to make sure I do both. I would encourage everyone to come along, and to give generously to both these fantastic charities, which do such important work.”

If you'd like to support Matt's efforts to raise money for Racing Welfare and the Household Cavalry Operational Casulties Fund please click here.

3 Jun 2012 18:18:41

Photographs of David Cameron and various Tory MPs celebrating the Jubilee

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter

David Cameron dispensing ice creams in Downing Street and with girl guides:

7327513588_cf9f136eb6_z
7327984722_740514ae4b_z

Robert Halfon at a Royal Legion Jubilee Party:

591812153 591846256

Stuart Andrew and friend waiting on the Commons Terrace for the pageant to pass by:

Screen Shot 2012-06-03 at 18.05.33

Rob Wilson with Sir John Madejski, Chairman of newly promoted Reading FC:

AuY16QiCQAAy78k

Matt Hancock and his predecessor Lord Risby (Richard Spring) planting a Jubilee Oak at Haverhill:

AuY1CYoCIAAY3N9

Steve Baker MP:

AueqoKUCEAEe9Mw

Welsh Minister David Jones:

Aues4IYCQAIaKWr

Send any more photographs to tim@conservativehome.com.

4 May 2012 06:14:38

What is the Cornerstone group? Matthew Barrett profiles the socially conservative Tory backbench group

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter

My series profiling the backbench groups of Tory MPs has so far mainly featured groups founded or mostly composed of 2010 intake MPs. Last time, I looked at the Thatcherite No Turning Back group, founded in the 1980s. This week's group is somewhere between the two. The Cornerstone Group is the main group whose defining mission is to represent socially conservative Members of Parliament. The group was formed in 2005, and presented some challenges for David Cameron's leadership. In this profile, I'll see how the group is doing now.

Origins of the group

HayesLeighCornerstone was founded by Edward Leigh and John Hayes, who still chair the group. Leigh has been the MP for Gainsborough since 1983, and is a former Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Trade and Industry, who was sacked for his opposition to Maastricht, and John Hayes, who has been the MP for South Holland and the Deepings since 1997, and the Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning since 2010.

Cornerstone admired the work done during Iain Duncan Smith's time as leader to promote a more communitarian, Burkean conservatism, and wanted to ensure IDS' work on this front was carried on.

When the group launched formally in July 2005, it released a pamphlet, which criticised Michael Howard's election campaign for being too quiet about tax cuts, public service reform and family values. Strongly condemning the personality politics and liberalism of New Labour, Leigh wrote:

"We believe that these values must be stressed: tradition, nation, family, religious ethics, free enterprise ... Emulating New Labour both lacks authenticity and is unlikely to make us popular. We must seize the centre ground and pull it kicking and screaming towards us. That is the only way to demolish the foundations of the liberal establishment and demonstrate to the electorate the fundamental flaws on which it is based."

The group first exerted its influence during the 2005 leadership contest. A group of about twenty Cornerstone supporters interviewed David Cameron, David Davis and Liam Fox. Fox apparently put in the best performance, while David Davis was, reportedly, not able to take criticism well. This meeting, combined with David Davis' alienating stint as the Minister for Europe under Major, and Davis' reluctance to support Iain Duncan Smith's compassionate conservatism programme wholeheartedly, is thought to be why many Cornerstone supporters first voted for Fox, and then switched to Cameron.

Continue reading "What is the Cornerstone group? Matthew Barrett profiles the socially conservative Tory backbench group" »

20 Apr 2012 06:33:09

Who are the 301? The Tory MPs who want to refresh the 1922 Committee

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter

The 301 group is perhaps the most active and important group of backbench Tory MPs. Tim Montgomerie reported last week that three MPs - Charlie Elphicke, George Hollingbery and Priti Patel - want to organise a candidate to be elected to the 1922 Committee's executive who will give the '22 a focus on policy and campaigning. The Spectator's James Forsyth blogged that "The vote for their candidate, and his opponent, will give us the best idea yet of where the backbenches are at the moment politically. Indeed, I expect that the machinery of the 301 group, the most pro-Cameron of all the backbench groups, will be thrown behind the Elphicke-Hollingbery-Patel slate."

To organise or endorse candidates for the '22 is certainly the most power a backbench group has yet wielded in this Parliament. In this profile, I'll be looking at the origins, members, aims and plans of the group to get a sense of what the group wants to campaign for.

Origins of the group

HopkinsLeeThe 301 was first organised by Kris Hopkins (Keighley), a former soldier and leader of Bradford Council, and Jessica Lee (Erewash), a former barrister, and now Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve. The group began with small meetings of a handful of MPs who were "concerned that the narrative in Parliament was not representative of the conversation" that MPs had had with the electorate while campaigning during the 2010 general election, and also dissatisfied with the fact that the mechanisms of debate amongst backbenchers, and between the back and front benches, were not conducive to trying to correct that narrative. Each of those attending brought a friend, and so on, until after three meetings the group reached 60 members.

Continue reading "Who are the 301? The Tory MPs who want to refresh the 1922 Committee" »

3 Apr 2012 08:02:14

What is the 2020 group? Matthew Barrett profiles the Tory MPs trying to renew the Cameron project

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter

6a00d83451b31c69e20163037ab5b8970d-pi

Of the Parliamentary groupings founded by MPs after the 2010 general election, the 2020 group is perhaps the least understood. Channel 4's Michael Crick and the FT (£) covered its launch during conference last year. Those two reports implied the 2020 group was a centre-left grouping pre-occupied with "countering the rise of the right". The 2020 is not about bashing the right. It's about upholding the ideas and optimism of the Cameron leadership era, and ensuring they can help inspire a majority Conservative government. In this profile, I will take a closer look at the 2020, its aims, role, and plans for the future.

Origins of the Group:

20202

The 2020 was founded in Autumn 2011 by Greg Barker, the Minister of State for Climate Change, Nadhim Zahawi (Stratford-upon-Avon), and George Freeman (Mid Norfolk), with Claire Perry (Devizes) joining soon after. It was launched at conference last year.

Members of the group (see below) are drawn from across the ideological spectrum (one member told me the 2020 tries to "reject the stale orthodoxies and dogmas of the old left versus right split in the Tory Party"), but members are united in wanting to develop conservatism and what the Party might look like in 2020. Founder George Freeman said: "The 2020 was set up as a forum to help the new Conservative generation define a modern progressive Conservatism for our times. What is the DNA that unites this diverse new generation? What are the long term social, economic, and technological changes that will shape our world? By tackling these and related questions we hope to help Conservatives define and dominate the radical centre ground of British politics."

Fellow founder Greg Barker explained another aspect of 2020's mission: "There's a strong strain of optimism that ran through the early Cameron message, and that message of change, hope and optimism, sometimes because of austerity, gets overshadowed, and we see ourselves as the guardians of that message".

Continue reading "What is the 2020 group? Matthew Barrett profiles the Tory MPs trying to renew the Cameron project" »

21 Mar 2012 05:57:45

What is the Free Enterprise Group? Matthew Barrett profiles the most influential new gathering of Tory MPs

Free Enterprise GroupBy Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter

The Forty. The 301. The 2020. These are some of the groups formed by Conservative MPs after the last general election. Most are largely made up of, or driven by, 2010-intake MPs. Over the next few weeks, I'll be profiling some of these groups. 

Today, we kick off with the Free Enterprise Group (FEG). The FEG is considered influential by sources at the Treasury, and George Osborne is said to think very highly of it, regarding it as the most important of the new groups to emerge. 

Origins of the Group: The group initially formed out of concern at the anti-free market atmosphere that has developed in the last few years. The behaviour of the last government, in cosying up to big business cartels and corporatist interests, often gave people a mistakenly bad impression of the free market that didn't necessarily exist twenty years ago. Polling suggests 21st-century Britons are less receptive towards free enterprise than the Chinese, Americans and Germans. There is also a wider cause - making Britain globally competitive again. The FEG's website highlights startling statistics about our place in the world: the fact that we are now 83rd in the world for regulation, 94th for taxation, and so on. This concern derives not just from the fact that we are being overtaken by emerging markets like Brazil, but also established Western economies, like Germany, have become more free market than Britain.

Continue reading "What is the Free Enterprise Group? Matthew Barrett profiles the most influential new gathering of Tory MPs" »

14 Feb 2012 08:13:26

Zac Goldsmith voted the most fanciable male MP (again)

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter

GOLDSMITH ZACSky News' annual St Valentine’s Day poll, compiled by Sky News’ political team sees the Conservative MP for Richmond Park, Zac Goldsmith, retaining his position as the most fanciable male MP.

Labour's Luciana Berger also retained her position as the most fanciable female MP, although Tory women are rated as the most attractive with 6 listed in the top 10, while Labour have 4 and the Lib Dems have none. Despite Goldsmith's first place, Labour men did best overall with 5 entries, but the Tories were just behind with 4 places.

Nick Clegg is the only Liberal Democrat to feature in this year’s list, and the only party leader to qualify - both David Cameron and Ed Miliband missed out, although the senior Miliband brother makes 6th place. 

Here is the full list (with last year’s rankings in brackets) for Sky's Most Fanciable MP 2012:

Men:   

  1. Zac Goldsmith (Con, Richmond Park) (1)
  2. Chuka Umunna (Lab, Streatham) (1)
  3. Andy Burnham (Lab, Leigh) (4)
  4. Dan Jarvis (Lab, Barnsley Central)
  5. Nick Clegg (Lib, Sheffield Hallam) (8)
  6. David Miliband (Lab, South Shields) (6)
  7. Dominic Raab (Con, Esher and Walton)
  8. Matt Hancock (Con, West Suffolk)
  9. Tristram Hunt (Lab, Stoke-on-Trent Central) (10)
  10. Jo Johnson (Con, Orpington)

Women:

  1. Luciana Berger (Lab, Liverpool Wavertree) (1)
  2. Louise Mensch (Con, Corby) (4)
  3. Nicola Blackwood (Con, Oxford West and Abingdon)
  4. Stella Creasy (Lab, Walthamstow) (8)
  5. Gloria De Piero (Lab, Ashfield) (4)
  6. Esther McVey (Con, Wirral West) (8)
  7. Rushanara Ali (Lab, Bethnal Green and Bow) (6)
  8. Penny Mordaunt (Con, Portsmouth North)
  9. Priti Patel (Con, Witham) (8)
  10. Charlotte Leslie (Con, Bristol North West)

22 Nov 2011 14:01:32

Michael Gove, our mutual friend

By Joseph Willits 
Follow Joseph on Twitter
 

Gove_michael_nw_2Perhaps because the time for reading his Christmas Carol is approaching, yesterday's education Topical Questions was full of references to Charles Dickens. Gavin Barwell MP (Croydon Central) began by asking for more. He congratulated Michael Gove's pledge of £8million for additional school places in Croydon, but asked whether "there will be further such tranches of money in future" due to an increase of 10% in the number of children in reception classes.

Barwell had, Gove replied, "Great Expectations" about what I can get out of the Chancellor", prompting shouts of "Hard Times" from the rest of the House. The Education Secretary continued:

"Well, really it is a “Tale of Two Cities”: the City of London under Labour, under-regulated and, sadly, not paying the taxes that it should have; and the City of London under the Conservatives—at last getting the resources into the Exchequer".

Edward Leigh MP (Gainsborough), highlighted the fact that "many members of the Cabinet, including the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, owe their start in life to private education". Leigh asked whether the Government would look to Europe where there are "many more bridges between private and state education ... for instance, the state paying the salaries of teachers in private schools", and not rule out "imaginative ways of helping ordinary people to access private education".

Continue reading "Michael Gove, our mutual friend" »

8 Jun 2010 17:56:24

Matthew Hancock speaks in praise of localism in his maiden speech as Mark Reckless and Nigel Mills highlight police accountability and funding

Matthew Hancock Commons Matthew Hancock, who replaced Richard Spring as MP for Suffolk West, used his maiden speech yesterday to endorse “the devolution of power to people more locally:”:

“That is a thread that binds together all of us on this side of the House. We believe that the constitution has become too centralised and that local people should be given more of a say. That is certainly true in West Suffolk. Such attention to local need is unfortunately in marked contrast to the one-size-fits-all, we-know-best attitude that Newmarket has seen over the past 13 years, and it is to that point that I turn in the final moments of my speech.

“For many years, the constitution has endured a creeping centralism. In particular, in planning, John Prescott’s regional spatial strategies have tried to turn every market town into a clone town. The powers of local people to resist have been stripped away, but already the new Government are succeeding in giving power back to the people. The regional spatial strategy was forcing through an inappropriate proposal to build thousands of homes and an industrial park in the middle of Newmarket, which the council found itself powerless to reject—but no more. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has given councils the power to make decisions for themselves once again. The people were given their voice and their democratically elected councillors voted unanimously to reject the proposal.

“So there we have it. After less than a month in office, the new Government are already improving our constitution to make it more local, more responsive to the people and less in hock to unelected, unaccountable quangos. A law and a quango cannot solve every ill of this world, but by trusting people and sharing responsibility, we can make a start. That principle binds us together on these Benches.”

Mark Reckless Commons Mark Reckless , the new MP for Rochester and Strood and a keen supporter of localism and direct democracy, turned his attention to police accountability:

“I should declare an interest: I am a member of the Kent police authority. However, on occasion, turkeys do vote for Christmas, and I should like to welcome the coalition’s proposals to abolish police authorities and replace us with directly elected individuals. It must be right that those who exercise the coercive power of the state should be held to account by those whom they serve.“

“I have heard the odd senior police officer oppose those plans, yet there is no suggestion of any intrusion on the chief constable’s prerogative. The powers that will be transferred are currently those of police authorities. Surely, the objection is not merely that directly elected individuals will exercise those powers more effectively than police authorities have done to date.

“We will also codify operational independence. I would caution that that does not mean that the police should be allowed to get along with things solely as they wish. The Metropolitan police have a tradition of independence because we have had a concern to guard against them becoming the arm of central Government. However, our tripartite system is a compromise between counties, where chief constables would occasionally receive instructions, and boroughs, where oversight was much greater. Indeed, the watch committee of the borough of Preston met twice a day—once in the morning, to give the chief constable his instructions, and once in the early evening, to check that he had carried them out.

“Before I close, I should like to draw the House’s attention to what I consider the major trend in policing of the past 25 years. It is the movement of power from locally appointed and accountable chief constables to an organisation that is both a private company and a trade union with a closed shop: the Association of Chief Police Officers, which has grown to dominate the field of policing without the sanction of the House. It has its committees and its cabinet, and it issues instructions to us in Kent on how much we should charge for policing the Faversham carnival or the Maidstone water festival. It is right that we should now move and have directly elected police commissioners to rebalance the policing landscape and restore local democracy.”

Nigel Mills Commons Meanwhile, Nigel Mills, who gained Amber Valley, concentrated on the issue of police funding in his county of Derbyshire:

“We know that the size of the budget deficit run up by the previous Government means that difficult decisions need to be taken, and Derbyshire police will have to take their share of that pain. I note that the amendment that bears the name of the right hon. Member for Blackburn [Jack Straw] contains a request that the cuts do not damage the number of police officers. I point out to the Minister that the police funding review carried out some six years ago noted that Derbyshire police needed a significant increase in funding, of approximately £5 million a year. However, that funding has still not been provided to this day, due to the damping mechanism. I urge the Government to have a full review of the allocation of funds for police forces, to ensure that Derbyshire police—who are currently being deprived of the 100 officers whom those funds could be used to provide—get the fair funding they are entitled to for the level of crime in Derbyshire. Only by ensuring a fair allocation of funding can we make sure that we have police services that are both effective and efficient.”

Jonathan Isaby