Matthew Hancock MP wins Sports Parliamentarian of the Year

Publish date: 
Wed, 05/12/2012 - 09:13

Matthew Hancock, the MP for West Suffolk, has been named as the Sport and Recreation Alliance's Sports Parliamentarian of the Year for 2012.

Matthew Hancock said: "I'm delighted. I am passionate about racing, Britain's second biggest sport after football, and securing its strong future. Winning at Newmarket was the thrill of a lifetime. More than anyone, I dedicate my prize to my very fast horse."

  • Matthew Hancock MP was named overall winner in recognition of his work for horseracing and his recent Blue Square Cavalry Charge win at Newmarket after only two months’ of training and raising £10,000 for Racing Welfare and The Household Cavalry Operational Casualties Fund.
  • Barbara Keeley MP was awarded silver medal for her work to promote women’s sport.
  • David Rutley MP finished in third place for his commitment to outdoor pursuits. Eight other parliamentarians were also honoured for their support for sport and recreation.

Matthew was declared the winner ahead of a competitive list of 11 other shortlisted MPs and peers at an awards ceremony hosted by the Sport and Recreation Alliance.

He was nominated by the British Horseracing Authority in recognition of his unwavering support over the last two years.

The chair of the awarding panel, Brigid Simmonds OBE, said:

“We were struck by Matthew’s effectiveness at getting horseracing on the agenda in Westminster, but his passion for the sport was not confined to the Commons Chamber.

“The panel were impressed to hear that he learned to ride from scratch, losing two stone in weight, and went on to win the Newmarket Cavalry Charge, raising £10,000 for charity.”

Barbara Keeley MP was named runner up in recognition of her dedication to promoting women’s sport as founder and chair of a new all-party parliamentary group.

Sue Tibballs, chief executive of the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, said:

"Barbara is a passionate supporter of women’s sport at all levels. She helps in any way she can and is a fantastic advocate in Parliament, the media and in her constituency."

David Rutley MP, who was nominated for his enthusiastic efforts to promote mountaineering and hillwalking, was awarded the bronze medal.

Dave Turnbull, CEO of the British Mountaineering Council, said:

“David has been an exceptional advocate for climbing and mountaineering... he has made a genuine and significant contribution. His efforts have raised awareness of the benefits that mountain-related activities bring to the wellbeing of the nation and to local economies.”

Eight other parliamentarians who were shortlisted were also honoured for their contribution to sport and recreation at yesterday's event at the House of Commons.

Olympic gold medallist Duncan Goodhew MBE, who sat on the awarding panel, said:

“Political support for the sport sector is essential to the delivery of a long-term sporting legacy from London 2012, and I hope that these passionate and hardworking Parliamentarians will be an inspiration to their colleagues.”

Andy Reed, chair of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said:

“After the wonderful year of sport we have had it is important to remember all the hard work that the sector puts in behind the scenes.

National governing bodies can’t do this alone, and the Sport and Recreation Alliance is extremely grateful to all the nominees for the support they have given.”

The award was established by the Alliance in 2011 to recognise the efforts of parliamentarians who work tirelessly with local people, clubs, organisations and governing bodies to promote and protect the interests of sport and recreation to get it higher up the government’s agenda.

John Woodcock MP was awarded the title last year following his campaign to protect bowling greens.

The 2012 shortlist

  • Ian Austin MP (British Cycling)
  • Graham Brady MP (English Lacrosse Association)
  • Matthew Hancock MP (British Horseracing Authority)
  • Baroness Heyhoe-Flint and Lord Addington (joint)(the Football Association)
  • Andrew Jones MP (North Yorkshire Sport)
  • Barbara Keeley MP (Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation)
  • Charlotte Leslie MP (Amateur Boxing Association)
  • Greg Mulholland MP (Rugby Football League)
  • Meg Munn MP (Lawn Tennis Association)
  • David Rutley MP (British Mountaineering Council)

The 2012 awards panel

  • Brigid Simmonds OBE (chair), chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association and vice-president of the Sport and Recreation Alliance
  • Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC
  • Duncan Goodhew MBE, Olympic gold medallist
  • Tim Lamb, chief executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance
  • Jacqui Oatley, sports broadcaster

To find out more about the Sports Parliamentarian of the Year Awards contact Simon Butler.

For media enquiries contact the Alliance's communications officer Libby Jellie on 020 7976 3933.

To receive the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s free daily sports news summary, a round-up of the day’s most interesting and informative news articles on sport and recreation, including links to original sources, email