The Prime Minister has appointed Matt Hancock as health secretary in shock cabinet reshuffle.
Changes were forced by Brexiteers Boris Johnson and David Davis’ surprise resignations within 24 hours of each other in protest against Theresa May’s Brexit strategy – which they would have been forced to back under collective responsibility rules.
Jeremy Hunt, the UK’s longest serving health secretary, will move into the role of foreign secretary.
Yesterday he Tweeted: ‘Massive wrench for me to leave health - I know some staff haven’t found me the easiest Health Sec but the NHS, and particularly patient safety, has become my passion & it really was the greatest privilege of my life to serve for so many years.’
‘Couldn’t ask for a better successor than @matthancock to take forward long term NHS plan with his brilliant understanding of the power of technology. The new NHS app will be in safe hands!’
Matt Hancock has left his role as digital, culture, media and sport secretary for the promotion. On Monday night he Tweeted: ‘Really looking forward to joining @DHSCgovuk at such an important time for our great NHS. I can’t wait to get started’
Mr Hancock, 39, is a former Bank of England economist and aide to George Osborne, when Mr Osborne was shadow chancellor, before becoming an MP for West Suffolk in 2010.
While he has only occupied his previous role for 6 months, Mr Hancock was praised for organising the cut in maximum stakes for fixed-odds betting machines to £2. He has also set up his own ‘Matt Hancock’ app for his constituents so that they can contact him more easily and efficiently – being was the first MP to use technology in this way. This news comes only weeks after the announcement that the Department of Health will receive a 3.4% annual NHS budget increase – and now Mr Hancock will have to drive through the reforms that the Prime Minister has insisted accompany the new funds.