Matt Hancock: Opens Up About His Affair, Mistakes & The Pandemic | E121

Last updated: Jun 2, 2023

The video is an interview with Matt Hancock, where he discusses his affair, mistakes made during the pandemic, and his personal life.

The video is an interview with Matt Hancock, the former UK Health Secretary, where he discusses his affair, mistakes made during the pandemic, and his personal life. The interviewer, Stephen Bartlett, asks Hancock about his childhood, his experience as Health Secretary during the pandemic, and his thoughts on his own mistakes. Hancock also talks about his complicated family life and the challenges he faced in school. The interview aims to provide a behind-the-scenes look at Hancock's life and experiences.

  • Matt Hancock reflects on mistakes made during the pandemic and the importance of having rules in place.
  • He joins the podcast to be honest about his pandemic experience and admires its self-awareness.
  • Hancock grew up in a happy, loving, and complicated modern family with four parents.
  • He talks about his affair and the importance of being honest and transparent about his mistakes.
  • Hancock got into politics to make a difference and stop others from going through his teenage experience.
  • Being a politician is a lose-lose game, and big decisions affect lots of people's lives.
  • Privilege has leveled the political system, and diversity is important to bring different perspectives.
  • Empathy is a vital skill in politics, and it comes from understanding the pain or struggle of a particular background.
  • Oxford and Cambridge can be great levelers if they get their selection and support right.

Matt Hancock: Opens Up About His Affair, Mistakes & The Pandemic | E121 - YouTube

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Matt Hancock's Reflection on Mistakes Made During the Pandemic

  • Hancock discusses mistakes made in terms of pandemic measures and how they were brought in.
  • He denies getting into "gotcha questions" and says that there needs to be boundaries.
  • Hancock talks about the importance of having rules in place.
  • He acknowledges that there were mistakes made that could have saved lives.
  • Hancock talks about the difficulty of being the health secretary during the pandemic.
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Matt Hancock's Reason for Joining the Podcast

  • Hancock admires the podcast for its ability to get people to be honest about themselves.
  • He wants to be able to articulate how he saw the pandemic experience.
  • Hancock thinks that the podcast is one of the most self-aware ones he has listened to.
  • He talks about the importance of having a space where people can talk about where things go well and where they have failed.
  • Hancock says that he loves the podcast and is completely hooked.
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Matt Hancock's Childhood and Family Life

  • Hancock grew up in a happy, loving, and complicated modern family.
  • His parents separated when he was two, and he effectively grew up with four parents.
  • Hancock has a half-brother and stepbrothers and sisters.
  • He talks about the love and support he received from four parents rather than the normal two.
  • Hancock discusses his experience of going to a local independent school a year early and struggling to keep up academically and socially.
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Matt Hancock: Opens Up About His Affair, Mistakes & The Pandemic | E121 - YouTube

Matt Hancock's Personal Life

  • Hancock talks about his affair and the impact it had on his personal life.
  • He acknowledges that he let people down and that he has to work to regain their trust.
  • Hancock talks about the importance of being honest and transparent about his mistakes.
  • He discusses the difficulty of balancing his personal life with his public role.
  • Hancock talks about his love for his children and how they have helped him through difficult times.
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Early Life and Education

  • Matt Hancock found himself in a tough environment at age 10.
  • He went to Oxford a year early and studied Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.
  • He got into PPE because it was easier to get into than Economics and Management.
  • He was aspiring to become an entrepreneur, not a politician.
  • He got into politics because that's where the big decisions are made.
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Why Politics?

  • Matt Hancock got into politics because he wanted to stop other people from going through the same experience that he did as a teenager.
  • He was interested in economics because of his mom's business almost going bust.
  • He was inspired to become an entrepreneur because of his mom's business.
  • He found politics interesting and had a real affinity with economics.
  • He wanted to make a difference and that's what drove him.
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Challenges of Being a Politician

  • Being a politician is a lose-lose game because people are going to hate you regardless of what you do.
  • Some people love you and some people hate you.
  • Not every interaction is cheerful.
  • Big decisions affect lots of people's lives, and some people are going to like it and some people aren't.
  • That's where the big decisions are made, and that's what got him into politics.
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Privilege in Politics

  • A lot of people who make big decisions in politics come from privilege.
  • Matt Hancock went to an independent school and lived in Cheshire, which is a privileged place to grow up.
  • He acknowledges that privilege has leveled the political system in the country.
  • He believes that everyone should have the opportunity to make a difference, regardless of their background.
  • He thinks that diversity in politics is important because it brings different perspectives and experiences to the table.
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Importance of Empathy in Politics

  • Empathy is a vital skill in politics.
  • It is hard to communicate in politics, but empathy is important to do the job well.
  • Empathy comes from understanding the pain or struggle of a particular background.
  • The lived experience of a particular background is incredibly important.
  • Empathy is the way to create a truly empathetic political system.
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Diversity in Politics

  • It is important to have diversity in politics.
  • People from different backgrounds bring different perspectives.
  • It is wrong to say that you cannot empathize with others and their situations.
  • You can seek to try to understand where they are coming from.
  • Representing a constituency involves understanding the needs of different people.
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The Role of Elite Universities in Politics

  • Oxford and Cambridge can be great levelers if they get their selection and support right.
  • They can take people from different backgrounds and put them into the same group.
  • The way to get over the problem of elitism is through empathy.
  • Empathy is the way to create a truly empathetic political system.
  • It is important to welcome people from all sorts of backgrounds into politics.
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The Perception of Politicians

  • There is a gap between what people think of politicians as a whole and what they think of individuals who they have interacted with.
  • Most people think that politicians are useless.
  • It is hard to communicate the importance of empathy in politics.
  • Empathy is important to do the job well.
  • Empathy comes from understanding the pain or struggle of a particular background.
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Background and Entry into Politics

  • Matt Hancock discusses his background and how it made him hesitant to enter politics.
  • He believes that the political system needs people who have gone through different experiences.
  • He talks about the perception that politics is a privileged Oxbridge boys club.
  • He mentions that there are many people in politics who come from difficult backgrounds.
  • He believes that the system tries to draw people through faster, but questions if it's doing a good enough job.
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Demotion by Theresa May

  • Matt Hancock talks about being demoted by Theresa May.
  • He was demoted to Minister of State for Digital and Culture.
  • He explains that May wanted a clean break from the Cameron-Osborne years.
  • He recalls the meeting where he was demoted and how he tried to make it less unpleasant.
  • He was given the opportunity to be the number two in DCMS and be responsible for digital policy.
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Role as Minister

  • Matt Hancock discusses his role as a minister.
  • He explains that it's not the job to be a master of different areas, but to be the people's representative amongst the experts.
  • He believes that the job is to listen to the experts and then decide democratically what direction to go.
  • He mentions that he had a background in healthcare, which helped him in his role as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
  • He talks about the challenges of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the decisions that had to be made.
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Affair and Personal Life

  • Matt Hancock discusses his affair and the impact it had on his personal life.
  • He talks about the pain and hurt that he caused to his family and loved ones.
  • He mentions that he resigned from his position as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care because he didn't want his personal life to distract from the important work that needed to be done.
  • He believes that he made mistakes and takes responsibility for them.
  • He talks about the importance of forgiveness and moving forward.
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Leadership in Digital Policy

  • The big question in digital policy is how to keep children safe online and make the internet a safer place.
  • Experts are needed, but a clear mission and direction are also necessary.
  • The minister's role is to make trade-offs and communicate decisions to the public.
  • Experts can become too focused and may not provide the necessary leadership.
  • The job is to synthesize the expert view but not just follow it blindly.
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The Role of Government Officials in Digital Policy

  • Many government officials lack understanding of social media platforms like Facebook.
  • Outsiders who understand the industry should be involved in writing legislation.
  • Getting a rational solution out of the bundle of problems is not easy.
  • Democratic representation is important, but good leaders should also listen to expert advice.
  • The spokesman role in leadership is incredibly important.
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The Importance of Experience in Digital Policy

  • The person making the call in digital policy should be experienced in that subject matter.
  • The harm that can be done if someone doesn't understand the area of expertise is significant.
  • Experts can become too focused and may not provide the necessary leadership.
  • The job is to synthesize the expert view but not just follow it blindly.
  • Leaders should represent the people and listen to expert advice.
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The Trade-Offs in Digital Policy

  • The big social trade-offs in digital policy are how free to be versus how safe to be in the internet.
  • Bringing a classic approach to political philosophy into the online world is necessary.
  • The job is to synthesize the expert view but not just follow it blindly.
  • Leaders should represent the people and listen to expert advice.
  • The spokesman role in leadership is incredibly important.
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Qualifications for Health Secretary

  • Doctors have questioned why a non-doctor is responsible for the health service.
  • There are more nurses in the NHS than doctors, so it's not just about doctors.
  • The Health Secretary represents not just those who work in the health service, but also the people who use it.
  • The Health Secretary listens to clinical advice from experts like Chris Whitty and Jonathan Van-Tam.
  • The person taking decisions should represent the people through the democratic process.
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Health Secretary's Role

  • The best solution might be to have someone who understands the side of the patients because they are one.
  • Someone who understands health and the nuances of it would be ideal.
  • The UK system is better than the US system because it merges politics and democracy with access to industry experts.
  • The civil service will never put forward a proposal that they don't think is workable.
  • The Health Secretary's job is to communicate the mission and be advised all the way from A to B.
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Running for Prime Minister

  • Matt Hancock ran for Prime Minister in 2019.
  • He wanted to make arguments about how enterprise leads to prosperity.
  • He didn't think he would win, but he wanted to get some arguments made.
  • Running for Prime Minister can lead to exposure and publicity.
  • He wanted to get Brexit done and move forward to building a stronger economy.
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Conclusion

  • Matt Hancock discusses his qualifications for Health Secretary and the role of the Health Secretary.
  • He also talks about his experience running for Prime Minister.
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Early Political Career and Personal Life

  • Matt Hancock discusses his early political career and how he got behind Boris Johnson during the Brexit crisis.
  • He believed that Boris Johnson was the best candidate to solve the Brexit problem.
  • He talks about his podcast and how he has a sponsor that he believes will help people change their lives.
  • He promotes a product that he believes is incredible because it gives him his protein, vitamins, and minerals in a small drink that tastes good.
  • He encourages people to try the product and tag him on Instagram.
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COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Matt Hancock talks about when he first realized that COVID-19 was a serious problem.
  • He saw a Chinese publication on January 1st announcing a new disease, but didn't think it was serious until a couple of weeks later.
  • He discusses the phases of trying to understand the impact of COVID-19 and what they should be doing.
  • He talks about developing a vaccine and trying to get the testing system up and running.
  • He remembers a surreal month during February when nobody else was thinking that COVID-19 was a big thing.
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Mistakes Made During the Pandemic

  • Matt Hancock admits that mistakes were made during the pandemic.
  • He talks about the lack of PPE and how they had to build up the supply chain from scratch.
  • He discusses the issue of testing and how they had to ramp up testing capacity quickly.
  • He talks about the decision to discharge patients from hospitals into care homes and how they didn't have enough testing capacity at the time.
  • He admits that they didn't have enough data at the beginning of the pandemic and that they had to make decisions based on incomplete information.
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Affair and Resignation

  • Matt Hancock talks about his affair with Gina Coladangelo and how he let people down.
  • He admits that he broke the rules and that he was wrong to do so.
  • He talks about the impact that the affair had on his family and how he has to work to rebuild their trust.
  • He discusses his resignation as Health Secretary and how he didn't want his personal life to distract from the important work that needed to be done.
  • He talks about his future plans and how he wants to continue to serve the public in some capacity.
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Early Stages of Pandemic

  • Discusses the early stages of the pandemic in the UK.
  • Describes the moment when it became clear that the pandemic was global.
  • Explains the confusion and lack of data in the early stages of the pandemic.
  • Talks about the need to build a testing regime from scratch.
  • Discusses the difficulty in determining the number of people who had the virus and the characteristics of the disease.
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Objective to Stop the Spread

  • Discusses the objective to stop the spread of the virus and prevent it from overwhelming the NHS.
  • Describes the reasonable worst case scenario and the need to quickly take action.
  • Recalls the moment when the number of deaths began to increase rapidly.
  • Talks about the frightening period after the lockdown was implemented and all possible levers were pulled.
  • Explains the criticism leveled at the UK for being slow to take action.
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Building a Testing Regime

  • Discusses the need to build a testing regime from scratch.
  • Talks about the challenges in getting a representative sample of the population.
  • Explains the importance of knowing how many people had the virus and had developed antibodies.
  • Recalls the survey that showed that only a small percentage of the population had developed antibodies.
  • Discusses the importance of the vaccine in stopping the spread of the virus.
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The Importance of the Vaccine

  • Discusses the importance of the vaccine in stopping the spread of the virus.
  • Talks about the mission to have a vaccine by Christmas.
  • Describes the team that was built to develop the vaccine.
  • Recalls the moment when the vaccine was successfully developed and pulled off.
  • Explains the importance of the vaccine in preventing future pandemics.
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Difficult decisions during the pandemic

  • The speed of transmission was not known at the time of decision-making.
  • The experts did not have enough data to make informed decisions.
  • The UK pulled the levers ahead of other countries because they were a bit behind Italy and Spain.
  • The balance between the costs of action and inaction was an enormous unknown.
  • The decisions made were going to have a devastating impact on businesses and people who rely on social contact.
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The public's reaction to lockdown

  • The public were amazing and put up with lockdown for a long time.
  • The advice was that the public might not put up with lockdown for very long.
  • The public's reaction was a case study for how publics will react if presented in a certain way.
  • If the UK had locked down a week earlier, 21,000 people would still be alive from the first wave.
  • The public were amazing with Italy, Spain, and France looking down first.
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The impact of decisions made during the pandemic

  • The decisions made were going to have a devastating impact on businesses and people who rely on social contact.
  • If the UK had locked down a week earlier, 21,000 people would still be alive from the first wave.
  • Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and it was about judgments based on the balance of two scales.
  • Ultimately, it's about learning from history and being better prepared for future pandemics.
  • The Far East was far better prepared because they had been through SARS and MERS.
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Personal reflections on decisions made during the pandemic

  • It's something that Matt Hancock will always think about.
  • Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and judgments were based on the balance of two scales.
  • Ultimately, it's about learning from history and being better prepared for future pandemics.
  • Matt Hancock wishes they had known then what they know now.
  • It's important to make sure that if a pandemic happens again, the UK will be far better prepared.
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Mistakes made during the pandemic

  • Mistakes were made in terms of the measures brought in, such as not being hard enough or details that really matter to people.
  • One example is the rules for funerals, which were very restrictive and interpreted as even the spouse shouldn't go to the funeral if they were shielding.
  • The rules were changed to make it clear.
  • There were hard and fast decisions that weren't obvious decisions at all.
  • They were constantly questioning themselves in terms of whether they got the judgment right.
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Life during the pandemic

  • Matt Hancock's alarm went off at 6 am every morning.
  • He had about half an hour with the kids in the morning.
  • He worked until about midnight every day.
  • He had a sense of mission and focus on how to optimize decision-making.
  • There were sleepless nights, but they were trying to solve something incredibly difficult as best as they could.
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Mental health during the pandemic

  • Matt Hancock relaxed through exercise.
  • There was a total sense of mission in the health department.
  • There was a focus on how to optimize decision-making.
  • There was a sense of mission to solve something incredibly difficult as best as they could.
  • He had anxiety about big decisions, but he found it motivating rather than crippling.
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