Poll: is Matt Hancock a good appointment as culture secretary?

Jonathan Knott, 11.01.2018
Hancock was previously digital and culture minister
Matt Hancock was promoted to secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport in Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle this week, replacing Karen Bradley, who has become Northern Ireland secretary.

In his previous role as digital and culture minister, which he held since July 2016, Hancock commissioned the Mendoza Review of the English museum sector, promising “a frank assessment” of the challenges facing museums and proposals for ways to overcome them.

But by the time the review was published in November, museum policy was being overseen by John Glen, who was appointed parliamentary under-secretary for arts, heritage and tourism in June last year.

Glen was moved to the role of economic secretary to the Treasury and city minister in the recent reshuffle. His former role in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) was newly created at the time and it is not clear yet how exactly responsibilities will be divided in the new setup.

The other new DCMS ministers appointed in the reshuffle were Margot James, who is the new digital and culture minister, and Michael Ellis, who has become parliamentary under-secretary.

Hancock has made few public remarks on museums and galleries, but has made several comments and interventions relating to music.

In an article for the Times in December, Hancock wrote: “As a fan of grime music, I know our amazing urban music makes a massive contribution to our creative industries”, adding that “the sounds of Skepta and Lady Leshurr are making waves across the world”.

And in March, Hancock wrote to London Mayor Sadiq Khan raising concerns about the Metropolitan Police’s 696 risk assessment form, which he said could be used to target musical genres such as grime.

“Genres of urban music like grime have the same significance for today’s young people as punk did in the 1970s, empowering them, creating a new generation of musical heroes and growing to become a worldwide phenomenon,” wrote Hancock.

Do you think Hancock is a good appointment as culture secretary?