Matt Hancock quizzed by Politics students
On Tuesday 13th June we were pleased to meet with the former Health Secretary the Rt (Hon) Matt Hancock MP who visited the College to answer questions from a group of Year 12 and Year 13 A level Government and Politics students.
From the outset Matt stated that he was willing to discuss any topic and throughout the meeting he was quite open in response to questions regarding criticisms he had received from Labour over the lack of PPE during the Covid19 pandemic and the extent to which he felt that his lack of expertise in medicine made his role as Secretary of State for health more difficult.
Year 12 student Lorenzo Reserva quizzed Matt on whether he felt that he had lived up to a 2014 report in the Financial Times that stated that, as a young minister, he was in possession of ‘ the skills to climb to the top in Westminster whilst Year 13 students Teilo Astill Murray and Kamil Wilk were interested in why he did not support lowering the voting age as well as asking for his views on the recent use of Section 35 by the UK Government to block the Scottish government’s Gender Recognition Reform Act.
As a member of the government during one of the most unique periods in our recent history it was not surprising that Matt considers the delivery of the vaccine to be one of his proudest moments as a minister in relation to a question from Year 13 student Logan Smith Nunes. The pandemic is also the theme of his greatest regrets of accepting no for an answer, something he advised the students never to do if they choose to enter public life. It was also interesting when, in response to a question on his achievements as an MP, he stated his political priorities to be ‘constituents, country and then himself’ and it was clear from this that he feels this part of his job is less known and credited. Matt was asked why he was stepping down as the MP for West Suffolk at the next election by Year 12 student Shola Forbes and discussed his feeling that Parliament is no longer performing its main role of serving the people that have elected them. When asked how he responded to the recent setbacks suffered in his career, Matt spoke quite frankly to the students of the importance of resilience and bouncing back.
Whilst he is now an independent MP at Westminster, he did express full support when questioned on the introduction of Voter ID in elections and for the recent plans to send illegal immigrants to Rwanda to claim asylum. He also stated when questioned by Year 13 student Elliot Day that he would be willing to accept the Conservative Party whip in Parliament were it to be restored by the PM.
These events are vital in helping to engage our young people in politics and Matt was keen to speak on that as well as respond to questioning on the aforementioned topics alongside how to tackle climate change, immigration and also some of the more unusual aspects of his public role including briefly flying an F15 with the US Air Force and his relationships with his fellow ‘I’m A Celebrity..’ Contestants.
Thanks to Matt and his staff for helping to arrange this visit to meet with our students.