Elizabeth Truss MP

18 Jun 2013 06:34:08

Cameron's coming reshuffle will be a reshuffle for women

Screen shot 2013-06-17 at 22.32.04
By Paul Goodman

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Having reshaped his Cabinet substantially last summer - sacking two Cabinet Ministers in the process - David Cameron is unlikely to do so again during this one.  This is because to do so would both risk destabilising his already fractious Parliamentary Party, and offend his instinct to keep changes to his front bench to a minimum. From the Prime Minister's point of view, it makes sense to delay a substantial Cabinet clearout until next summer, when a team can be put in place to fight the election in 2015.

Leaving the next big shuffle until later in the Parliament will also minimise any backlash from sacked Ministers, since they will rally round Cameron during the election run-up (that's the theory, at any rate).  The claim that Sir George Young will stay in post for the time being would dovetail with such an approach.  The Prime Minister's most likely reshuffle course, therefore, will be to restrict change to the lower ranks of the Government - but to promote to just below Cabinet level men and women who, in his view, are capable of making it to the top table next year.

Continue reading "Cameron's coming reshuffle will be a reshuffle for women" »

21 Nov 2012 15:57:10

Theresa May, Andrea Leadsom, Liz Truss, Charles Walker and Jesse Norman amongst the stars of the Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year awards

By Matthew Barrett
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Spectator-Logo-resize-395x400Below are the winners of the different categories of the Spectator's Parliamentarian of the Year awards, which were held this afternoon.

  • Newcomer of the Year – Andrea Leadsom MP (Con)
  • Backbencher of the Year – Alistair Darling MP (Lab)
  • Campaigner of the Year – Andy Burnham MP (Lab)
  • Inquisitor of the Year – Margaret Hodge MP (Lab)
  • Speech of the Year – Charles Walker MP (Con) & Kevan Jones MP (Lab)
  • Resignation of the Year – Lord Hill of Oareford (Con)
  • Apology of the Year – Nick Clegg MP (Lib Dem)
  • Resurrection of the Year – Sir George Young MP (Con)
  • Minister to Watch – Elizabeth Truss MP (Con)
  • Double Act of the Year – Edward Davey MP (Lib Dem) & John Hayes MP (Con)
  • Peer of the Year – Rt Revd Justin Welby
  • Minister of the Year – Theresa May MP (Con)
  • Parliamentarian of the Year – Jesse Norman MP (Con)
  • Politician of the Year – Boris Johnson (Con)

Three names especially strike me: Jesse Norman, Andrea Leadsom and Theresa May.

Jesse Norman deserves relentless praise for his defence of our constitution against the offensive, mandate-lacking desire of some in the Coalition to see the House of Lords destroyed. But Mr Norman is far from being a mere skilled rebel. He is a serious economic and philosophical thinker, and a remarkable talent on the backbenches. His award is richly deserved.

Continue reading "Theresa May, Andrea Leadsom, Liz Truss, Charles Walker and Jesse Norman amongst the stars of the Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year awards" »

22 Oct 2012 15:31:06

Conservative Select Committee appointments announced

By Matthew Barrett
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SelectCommittesGuido Fawkes has a list of new Conservative members of Select Committees, from Graham Brady's office. Mr Brady explains: "For the following committees I have received the same number of nominations as there are vacancies, the following are therefore elected". The appointments are:

Communities and Local Government

John Stevenson (Carlisle), replacing George Hollingbery (Meon Valley), who became PPS to Theresa May at the reshuffle.


Chris Skidmore (Kingswood), replacing Damian Hinds (East Hampshire), who became PPS to Mark Francois, the Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans.


Andrew Percy (Brigg and Goole), replacing Dr Daniel Poulter (Central Suffolk and North Ipswich), who was made the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Health Services.

Continue reading "Conservative Select Committee appointments announced" »

5 Sep 2012 20:21:19

Full post-reshuffle list of Ministers

By Matthew Barrett
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Following on from the last few days' rolling blogs, I have below a final list of the MPs (and Baroness Warsi) appointed as Ministers for each department. I have put new appointments in bold.

Cabinet Office

  • Minister for the Cabinet Office, Paymaster General – Rt Hon Francis Maude MP
  • Minister for Government Policy – Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP
  • Minister of State – Rt Hon David Laws MP (jointly with the Department for Education)
  • Parliamentary Secretary – Nick Hurd MP
  • Parliamentary Secretary – Chloe Smith MP

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

  • Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills; and President of the Board of Trade – Rt Hon Dr Vincent Cable MP
  • Minister of State (Universities and Science) – Rt Hon David Willetts MP
  • Minister of State – Michael Fallon MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Jo Swinson MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Matthew Hancock MP (jointly
  • with the Department for Education)

Department for Communities and Local Government

  • Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP
  • Senior Minister of State (Faith and Communities) – Rt Hon Baroness Warsi (jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
  • Minister of State (Housing) – Mark Prisk MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Planning) - Nicholas Boles MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Rt Hon Don Foster MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Brandon Lewis MP

Continue reading "Full post-reshuffle list of Ministers" »

3 Sep 2012 13:38:09

The Unchained Five and a turning point for the 2010 intake

By Peter Hoskin
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Unchained Five

If Enid Blyton were writing the story of British politics this month, it might be called Five Go Hunting For Growth. After all, on 13th September, five plucky, relatively young members of the 2010 intake will be publishing a book stuffed full of prescriptions for our ailing economy and the country that surrounds it. That book is Britannia Unchained. The five MPs are Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Elizabeth Truss.

We heard from these five over the summer, in a slightly unfortunate preview of the book in the Evening Standard. But they’re strikingly prominent as well today, as MPs return to Westminster for the autumn. Kwasi Kwarteng provides the first entry in a series of Telegraph articles from “leading young Tory MPs”, in which he argues against economic defeatism and for a “new ‘no compromise’ strategy for our economy as a whole”. And elsewhere, Mr Kwarteng is tipped to become “the UK’s first black Prime Minister,” while Dominic Raab and Liz Truss also receive good notices, in a survey of Westminster lobbyists.

Continue reading "The Unchained Five and a turning point for the 2010 intake" »

21 Aug 2012 17:03:07

"One-man Think Tanks": how the 2010 intake forced their way into the papers

By Paul Goodman
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As a former broadsheet Comment editor, I over-estimate the importance of comment pages, both on paper and online.  Since the blogs, such as this one, now compete with them, fewer people read them - especially since the rise of the paywall.  Then there's TV.  Then there's Twitter.  Then there's the rest of the new media...

So I declare an interest and a bias.  But despite both, I think Fleet Street comment pages, broadsheet or tabloid, help to set the terms of political debate.

Continue reading ""One-man Think Tanks": how the 2010 intake forced their way into the papers" »

17 Aug 2012 08:30:36

10 from '10 - ten Ministerial prospects from the 2010 intake

By Matthew Barrett
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Heads and ladders1

The 2010 intake is, by now, known for being one of the most active and resourceful for a number of generations. In choosing ten MPs who could be promoted from the 2010 intake, I have had to overlook a number of extremely good candidates who, in normal, non-Coalition times would undoubtedly be made Ministers, and would do an excellent job. Those MPs include Fiona Bruce, George Freeman, Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel and Charlotte Leslie. There are a number of other MPs who I have excluded from my list, because their past Parliamentary rebellions would probably rule them out of contention. These include Nadhim Zahawi, Jesse Norman, Andrea Leadsom, Rory Stewart, Richard Fuller, and Andrew Griffiths.

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21 Jun 2012 14:02:35

Tory MPs speak out against regional pay in Commons debate

By Matthew Barrett
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Yesterday evening a debate was held on regional pay. I blogged earlier this week on why I don't think the Government will introduce regional pay bargaining - and the Commons debate last night certainly didn't dispel my theory. After initial pro-regional pay contributions to the debate from Elizabeth Truss, Mike Freer, Margot James, Aidan Burley, and Andrea Leadsom, Guy Opperman, the Member for Hexham rose.  Guy Opperman CommonsHe said: 

"There are two key arguments in the debate, the first of which is economic. Having worked as a legal aid barrister or state prosecutor for 15 years .... It was during that time that I saw the effects of local pay, as it is described, and took into account the argument of the right hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Mr Brown) ... who first contemplated it in 2003 and then forced it on the Courts Service in 2007. As with so many of the right hon. Gentleman’s economic policies, I see little evidence that local pay was a success. I have tried to study the economic argument behind it ... I do not support such arguments, which are obscure at best and have not been shown to work in real terms. Also—surely this is the crucial point—it is not supported by businesses in my constituency, none of which has come to me to press for it."

Andrew Percy CommonsAndrew Percy, the Member for Brigg and Goole intervened:

"In our region, the Humber, we cannot get NHS workers to come and work and have to consider paying them more. A few years ago we could not get teachers to teach in the city of Hull and had to give them an enhanced salary to do it. Whatever the economics, the reality is that we cannot get some public sector workers to come to our region. How we would do that if we paid them even less is beyond me."

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21 Mar 2012 05:57:45

What is the Free Enterprise Group? Matthew Barrett profiles the most influential new gathering of Tory MPs

Free Enterprise GroupBy Matthew Barrett
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The Forty. The 301. The 2020. These are some of the groups formed by Conservative MPs after the last general election. Most are largely made up of, or driven by, 2010-intake MPs. Over the next few weeks, I'll be profiling some of these groups. 

Today, we kick off with the Free Enterprise Group (FEG). The FEG is considered influential by sources at the Treasury, and George Osborne is said to think very highly of it, regarding it as the most important of the new groups to emerge. 

Origins of the Group: The group initially formed out of concern at the anti-free market atmosphere that has developed in the last few years. The behaviour of the last government, in cosying up to big business cartels and corporatist interests, often gave people a mistakenly bad impression of the free market that didn't necessarily exist twenty years ago. Polling suggests 21st-century Britons are less receptive towards free enterprise than the Chinese, Americans and Germans. There is also a wider cause - making Britain globally competitive again. The FEG's website highlights startling statistics about our place in the world: the fact that we are now 83rd in the world for regulation, 94th for taxation, and so on. This concern derives not just from the fact that we are being overtaken by emerging markets like Brazil, but also established Western economies, like Germany, have become more free market than Britain.

Continue reading "What is the Free Enterprise Group? Matthew Barrett profiles the most influential new gathering of Tory MPs" »

30 Aug 2010 07:00:00

Elizabeth Truss MP answers ConHome's Twenty Questions for the Class of 2010

Here is the latest in our series of Twenty Questions with members of the Class of 2010...

Elizabeth Truss Commons Elizabeth Truss was elected MP for South West Norfolk with a majority of 13,140.

1. What is your earliest political memory? Being taken on a CND march by my mother at the age of 8.

2. Complete the sentence: “I’m a Conservative because… I believe in liberty and the free market."

3. Who is your political hero and why? Ronald Reagan - he was an optimist about what could be achieved.

4. When did you decide you wanted to become an MP? It gradually dawned on me...

5. What is your reading material of choice? ConservativeHome, food blogs and cookbooks, The Times.

6. Who is your favourite political interviewer/presenter on TV or radio? Laura Kuenssberg.

7. If you could run any government department, which would it be and why? Treasury or Cabinet Office - I want to get to grips with the government machine.

8. Which non-Conservative politician do you most admire? David Laws, for being an early adopter of education and economic reform.

9. Who would you least want to get stuck with in a House of Commons lift? No comment.

10. If you were in the US, would you be a Republican or a Democrat? Republican.

11. What do you enjoy doing to unwind and relax? Cooking and reading crime ficton, especially Sherlock Holmes

12. What is your favourite book? The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

13. What is your favourite film? Mulholland Drive. I also have a soft spot for ET.

14. What is your favourite music? Queen, The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Whitney Houston.

15. What would be your ideal meal and where would you eat it? Breakfast of waffles, bacon and maple syrup and espresso at a roadside diner.

16. What is your favourite holiday destination? South California.

17. What do you most want to achieve during your first term in Parliament? Dual the final stretch of the A11 and help achieve reform of A -Levels and GCSEs.

18. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about yourself. I spent the second year of my life in 1970s Poland as my parents tried out life under the communists. I gather one of my first words was the Polish for clock.

19. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about your constituency. 'Allo 'Allo, You Rang M'Lord and Dad's Army were all filmed in South West Norfolk. Indeed I met Katie Rabett who played Cissy Meldrum in You Rang M'Lord at a fete recently.

20. Share with us your most amusing story or favourite anecdote from the campaign trail. During the campaign I went to a local pub with some friends who had brought their dog. The dog was wearing a blue rosette. The pub had a chicken coop and as we were eating our lunch the dog had taken too much interest in one of the chickens. There was screeching from the coop. Luckily we managed to rescue the chicken minus a few feathers and retrieve the rosette from the chicken house.

> Previously: Steve Baker MP

12 Jun 2010 11:54:53

Damian Hinds and Elizabeth Truss raise education issues in their maiden speeches

During the final day of debate on the Queen's Speech on Tuesday, two new Conservative MPs touched on important educational matters in their maiden speeches:

Damian Hinds Commons Damian Hinds, who replaced Michael Mates in Hampshire East, told the House:

"As the new powerhouses of China, India, Russia and Brazil loom ever larger, we must rise to the challenge they set. Fundamental to that must be ensuring the very best education for every child to enable them all, regardless of background, to fulfil their potential. That is a theme that many hon. Members have touched on already. Striving for excellence is not just about bringing all up to scratch or setting the bar at an acceptable standard. It must be about encouraging all to stretch themselves, from wherever they start, to be all that they can. That should be true both for schools and for the students in their care. In education, as in industry, when people feel ownership, empowerment and responsibility, they are much more likely to go the extra mile and make a success of their venture—hence the great attraction of the academy model, even for schools that are already very successful.

"Those same principles need not mean going it alone, as they can extend beyond the school gate, with schools working in partnership with others. In my constituency, the 44 schools and colleges already work co-operatively, choosing to pool resources in the pursuit of shared goals. The potential advantages of that kind of approach are many fold. It can enable smaller village schools, which we value very highly in my area, to derive scale benefits that they otherwise would not have. It can provide new stretch opportunities for particularly gifted and talented youngsters, and also a forum for governors to share best practice."

Elizabeth Truss Commons Later in the debate came the first contribution from Norfolk South West's new MP, Elizabeth Truss, who did much work on education whilst at the Reform think-tank prior to her election. She called for "an overhaul of our qualifications system":

"Like everywhere else in the country, the economy of South West Norfolk has changed. With increased automation, we now have higher skilled jobs. A typical farm now employs an eighth of the employees that it did 40 years ago, but those employees are in highly technically skilled and business management roles. We need to ensure that we educate people for those jobs. That is why I want to look to our great universities to lead on academic qualifications. I have previously called for maths and science to move from geek to chic. Never has this been more important, and I will be pressing for that.

"I also want to see employers lead in on-the-job skills because people get a passion for work and a sense of craftsmanship from watching someone who cares about it doing the job. I will be fighting for that to make sure that those people, not bureaucrats, are in charge of setting our qualifications."

Jonathan Isaby