Matt Hancock issues Conservative Party warning as he announces he is quitting as MP

Ex-government minister will stay on until the next general election

Matt Hancock will not run as an MP in the next general election. Reuters
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Former UK health secretary Matt Hancock has said he will not stand for the Conservatives in the next general election.

He made the announcement on Wednesday after losing the Conservative Party Whip for taking part in the TV show, I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!

In his resignation letter, he listed his achievements but also warned the party must reconnect with voters.

He said: “The Conservative Party must now reconnect with the public we serve. There was a time when I thought the only way to influence the public debate was in Parliament, but I've realised there's far more to it than that.

“I have increasingly come to believe that for a healthy democracy we must find new ways to reach people — especially those who are disengaged with politics. The revival of modern conservatism over the next decade will I suspect take place as much outside Parliament as in it.”

He resigned as health secretary in June 2021 for breaking Covid restrictions.

“I am writing to tell you that I do not intend to stand for the Conservatives at the next general election. I am very grateful for my conversation with the chief whip last week, in which he made clear he would restore the whip in due course, but that is now not necessary.”

He added: “I am incredibly proud of what we achieved in my nine years in government.

He then listed the expansion of apprenticeships and the introduction of traineeships, digitisation of public services and “of course the response to the pandemic: the first vaccine in the world, and a shorter lockdown, fewer jobs lost, and lower mortality than comparable countries”.

The West Suffolk MP was forced to quit as health secretary in June last year after breaking coronavirus lockdown rules in his ministerial office while he was having an affair with aide Gina Coladangelo.

Mr Hancock was among supporters who welcomed new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to Conservative headquarters in October but he was overlooked for a ministerial job in the new Cabinet.

A minister in successive Conservative governments from 2013, Mr Hancock has held his seat since 2010 and in 2019 increased his majority to 23,194.

When he joined the TV castaway show, it was a surprise to parliamentary colleagues and the party whip was withdrawn.

Mr Hancock said he wanted to use his appearance on the popular show to promote his work on dyslexia.

Updated: December 07, 2022, 2:52 PM