Former health secretary launched the Matt Hancock MP app in 2018 to ‘promote healthy, open, impartial debate’
Matt Hancock lost the Conservative whip after joining I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here…! last year. Photograph: James Gourley/ITV/REX/Shutterstock
Matt Hancock has closed his personal app, five years after its launch made it a 24-hour social media hit.
The Matt Hancock MP app was launched in 2018 when the West Suffolk MP was culture secretary as part of Theresa May’s government. He said he hoped it would keep his constituents up-to-date and “promote a healthy, open and impartial debate within its community”.
However, within hours it was full of users, many who were journalists or people trolling the MP, who realised that they did not have to live in Hancock’s patch to become members.
One early post that gained popularity was someone posing as Ed Balls, mimicking his famous “Ed Balls” tweet. Settings were later changed to discourage non-constituents from registering.
In a post released on the app on Tuesday, Hancock announced he was calling time on his virtual venture. He said: “After almost five gloriously fun years, it’s time to bid a fond farewell to the ‘iconic’ Matt Hancock App – a platform that secured multiple exclusives, including my backing of Rishi Sunak for PM.
“While the news will come as a blow to those who can’t remember life before the app, fear not …,” he said, before recommending people follow him on TikTok.
“Thanks for the memories and see you all soon,” he added.
The app wasn’t Hancock’s only foray into the digital world. He also planned to speak to the 2018 Conservative party conference as a hologram. However, his alternative address did not go ahead.
In December the former health secretary announced he would be standing down as an MP at the next election.
He had appeared on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! as a contestant, and finished third – losing the Conservative party whip in the process.