Jim Pickard @PickardJE Chief Political Correspondent, Financial Times Jul. 22, 2019 1 min read

extraordinary scene this morning when health secretary Hancock had big row with PM May because she wanted to publish HIS green paper on preventative health measures?

Surely nothing to do with him wanting cabinet job under Johnson, who opposes sin taxes?!


Hancock was initially reluctant to have the paper published by his own health department, meaning that it was instead published by the Cabinet Office and DHSC together.

The minister also argued successfully against any press notice to accompany publication.

One Tory aide suggested that Mr Hancock had tried to “time out” the paper over the weekend by not responding to a government write-around on the subject.

One Hancock ally said he still wanted to pursue the ideas in the green paper. “Last week everyone got a letter saying we shouldn’t announce anything which could tie the hands of an incoming administration.”

He argued the policies could be re-examined at leisure by the next PM

Anyway what’s in the paper?


complete ban on smoking by 2030

levy on tobacco companies to fund initiatives to help smokers quit

end to the sale of energy drinks to children.


mandatory calorie labelling in restaurants

9pm watershed for TV ads for unhealthy food

Labour’s @JonAshworth

“Serious questions for Hancock to answer on why he has slipped this important green paper out at this time.”

“With advances in life expectancy stalling, infant mortality rates worsening and health inequalities widening, this paper is hugely disappointing”

this is one of the most peculiar tales I can remember ever writing

Exquisite commentary from @Jack_Blanchard_ email this morning:

“Hancock - having spent months dreaming up these policies - now finds himself stuck in the middle of a war between the old and new versions of himself.”

it’s like an impeccable Michael Frayn satirical novel

You can follow @PickardJE.


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