20 Sep 2013 10:42:23
By Paul Goodman
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Stop me if you've heard it already, but ConservativeHome has the crucial detail from the Tory awayday - namely, that Robert Buckland's table won the quiz at yesterday evening's dinner. Take a bow, too, Henry Bellingham, Nicky Morgan and Christopher Pincher, whose knowledge, according to my source, won the victory.
18 Jun 2013 06:34:08
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" »
5 Sep 2012 20:21:19
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.
- 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" »
28 Jul 2012 09:03:51
By Tim Montgomerie
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Aidan Burley MP has got himself into trouble (again). This time for some sour tweets about the Olympics' Opening Ceremony:
There's a report in The Telegraph. Number 10 quickly distanced himself from Mr Burley's Tweets. "We do not agree with him," said a Downing Street source. Fellow Tory MP Gavin Barwell tweeted his own rebuttal. There's nothing left-wing about embracing diversity, said the member for Croydon Central.
Robert Halfon MP was positive throughout the evening (writing a blog entitled "Olymptastic") but he did object to Shami Chakrabati's casting as Olympic flag carrier "given her senior role in LSE: the Uni that sucked up to Gadaffi". I agree with Rob, why not an Afghan war vetaran instead?
Most Tory MPs were completely uncritical, however. Here's a selection:
- Stuart Andrew: As you can see Mr Romney, we are ready! Well done all!
- Harriett Baldwin: Loved it all, but being a Worcestershire dog owner my best bits were Elgar and the corgis
- Steve Baker: Wonderful to see two great British engineers celebrated tonight: Brunel and Berners-Lee
- Dan Byles: Has Danny Boyle just secured his knighthood, with this incredible ceremony?
- Damian Collins: Absolutely stunning start to the London 2012 Olympics. Danny Boyle's opening ceremony really was the best of British.
- Alun Cairns: Fantastic opening ceremony and S&P confirm Britain's AAA rating. Looking good even without winning a medal so far
- Charlie Elphicke: An amazing #london2012 opening ceremony. Brilliant @DannyBoyleFilm celebration of our nation. Tonight we are #OneBritain
- Margot James: Jerusalem, Chelsea Pensioners, forging, James Bond and the Queen, nurses, great music, quirky history of our Isles loved
- David Jones: Over a billion people watching this. Watching our country. Very proud.
- Louise Mensch: Beyond awesome. We rule. #GodSaveTheQueen
- Nicky Morgan: Oh wow! The Olympics are here. Only city to host for a third time.
- Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: Well that was fantastic. The world was watching London and London delivered. Well done to all who made it happen.
- Rob Wilson: Oh Danny Boyle, English eyes are smiling! Sing it everyone.
20 Apr 2012 06:33:09
By Matthew Barrett
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The 301 group is perhaps the most active and important group of backbench Tory MPs. Tim Montgomerie reported last week that three MPs - Charlie Elphicke, George Hollingbery and Priti Patel - want to organise a candidate to be elected to the 1922 Committee's executive who will give the '22 a focus on policy and campaigning. The Spectator's James Forsyth blogged that "The vote for their candidate, and his opponent, will give us the best idea yet of where the backbenches are at the moment politically. Indeed, I expect that the machinery of the 301 group, the most pro-Cameron of all the backbench groups, will be thrown behind the Elphicke-Hollingbery-Patel slate."
To organise or endorse candidates for the '22 is certainly the most power a backbench group has yet wielded in this Parliament. In this profile, I'll be looking at the origins, members, aims and plans of the group to get a sense of what the group wants to campaign for.
Origins of the group
The 301 was first organised by Kris Hopkins (Keighley), a former soldier and leader of Bradford Council, and Jessica Lee (Erewash), a former barrister, and now Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve. The group began with small meetings of a handful of MPs who were "concerned that the narrative in Parliament was not representative of the conversation" that MPs had had with the electorate while campaigning during the 2010 general election, and also dissatisfied with the fact that the mechanisms of debate amongst backbenchers, and between the back and front benches, were not conducive to trying to correct that narrative. Each of those attending brought a friend, and so on, until after three meetings the group reached 60 members.
Continue reading "Who are the 301? The Tory MPs who want to refresh the 1922 Committee" »
10 Mar 2012 07:28:47
Nicky Morgan, Conservative MP for Loughborough, is this week's ConservativeHome Diarist. Follow Nicky on Twitter.
Being an MP requires the ability to keep a lot of spinning plates in the air at the same. I am asked to write this week’s diary as I am standing in the playground at Queen’s Park, Loughborough with my 4 year old son. Trying to concentrate on a telephone call and also wonder why my son hasn’t reached the end of the long covered slide (so where is he and what is he doing?) at the same time is not that easy.
Life in Westminster doesn’t involve any less juggling. There is so much going on at the moment – although we are waiting for more legislation to find its way back from the Lords to the Commons. This is a relatively quiet week for my duties as PPS to Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts MP. Working with David is a pleasure. Given his studious reputation I aim to confine my advice to him to backbench feeling on BIS policy as colleagues have relayed it to me. I try to catch up with him during or after divisions of the Commons – divisions are often the only time backbench MPs get to really talk to Ministers about a pressing matter which is why voting electronically would be such a bad idea. Standing shoulder to shoulder with a Minister, when they cannot escape, is an invaluable time to remind them about the pressing need of a project or group in my constituency.
Monday morning sees me talking to Years 10 and 11 citizenship classes at Burleigh College in Loughborough about politics. The Year 11 group is mixed and not all of them want a lesson with their local MP. I get some good questions though about tuition fees, capital punishment and the Clare’s Law pilots – and I try to get them thinking about some topical issues.
Continue reading "The Parliamentary Diary of Nicky Morgan MP" »
21 Sep 2011 10:36:45
By Joseph Willits
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40 Tory volunteers, including MPs Tobias Ellwood, Nicky Morgan, Eric Ollerenshaw, Andrew Stephenson (pictured), Anne Main and MEP Syed Kamall, have all travelled to Bangladesh to welcome in Project Maja in the country.
Project Maja was set up by Party co-Chairman Sayeeda Warsi (who also joined the volunteers), in Bosnia in 2009.
The project has now been extended to Bangladesh, working in the capital Dhaka, and the north-eastern city of Sylhet. The volunteers, and the project more generally, will be focusing on working with several UK charities and businesses in Bangladesh, including Islamic Relief, the London Tigers, BRAC and Save the Children. Sport, community and health projects were the focus of the visit, and of Project Maja.
Continue reading "Tory MPs go to Bangladesh as part of the party's social action project, Project Maja" »
1 Feb 2011 17:53:23
By Jonathan Isaby
Last month Andrew Lansley wrote exclusively for ConHome here about the Government's Health and Social Care Bill.
The Bill had its Second Reading in the Commons yesterday, during which new Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams gave her maiden speech and David Miliband gave his first full speech as a backbencher since losing the Labour leadership.
But here a snapshot of the contributions from the Conservative backbenches.
Health Select Committee chairman Stephen Dorrell considered the challenge of increasing demands upon the NHS:
"During the lifetime of this Parliament the national health service faces a genuinely unprecedented challenge, first articulated not by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State in the present Government, but by the chief executive of the health service before the general election in May 2009, when he drew attention to the fact that demand for health care should be expected to continue to rise at roughly 4% per annum, as it has done throughout the recent history of the national health service. However, because of the budget deficit situation, we will not see the health budget continue to rise to absorb that rise in demand, in the way it has done over the past decade.
"Therefore, during the lifetime of this Parliament, we will have to see, in the national health service, a 4% efficiency gain four years running-something that not merely our health care system, but no other health care system in the world, has ever delivered. The Select Committee has referred to that as the Nicholson challenge, reflecting the fact that it was first articulated by the chief executive and endorsed by the previous Government. Again, this is a case of a shared agenda across the House of Commons.
"Given the Budget deficit, the only way we can continue to meet the demand for high-quality health care, which we all want to see, is by delivering an unprecedented efficiency gain in the NHS for four years running. That is why I support the Bill. I support it because to my mind it is inconceivable that we can deliver such an efficiency gain without delivering more effectively than we have done yet on the ideas, which have been endorsed over the past 20 years, about greater clinical engagement in NHS commissioning, which I have been talking about. Commissioning cannot be successful if it is something that is done to doctors by managers; it must engage the whole clinical community. We must address the democratic deficit, because we cannot bring change on the scale that we need to deliver the efficiency gain without engaging local communities."
Continue reading "Tory MPs debate the merits of the Health and Social Care Bill " »
27 Aug 2010 05:52:10
Here is the latest in our series of Twenty Questions with members of the Class of 2010...
Nicky Morgan was elected MP for Loughborough with a majority of 3,744.
1. What is your earliest political memory?
Looking for candles at home in the late 1970s because of the power cuts – trade unions at their worst.
2. Complete the sentence: “I’m a Conservative because… I believe in the power of individuals."
3. Who is your political hero and why? A leader such as Gorbachev who has the courage to challenge the political system which promoted him/them to the top.
4. When did you decide you wanted to become an MP? At some point between 1992 and 1997 when I saw what the Conservative Party was doing to itself.
5. What is your reading material of choice? Ideally a really good book – either a biography or novel. But it is often a magazine such as The Week just before I fall asleep – or Thomas the Tank Engine before my toddler falls asleep.
6. Who is your favourite political interviewer/presenter on TV or radio? Tom Bradby.
7. If you could run any government department, which would it be and why? Department for Culture, Media and Sport – because it has the capacity to enrich our lives.
8. Which non-Conservative politician do you most admire?
President Jed Bartlett!
9. Who would you least want to get stuck with in a House of Commons lift? The current Labour leadership contenders.
10. If you were in the US, would you be a Republican or a Democrat?
11. What do you enjoy doing to unwind and relax? Spending time with my husband and son, cooking, running.
12. What is your favourite book? North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.
13. What is your favourite film? Crimson Tide.
14. What is your favourite music? Jazz.
15. What would be your ideal meal and where would you eat it? A very long lunch surrounded by family and friends somewhere very hot and sunny.
16. What is your favourite holiday destination?
17. What do you most want to achieve during your first term in Parliament? Putting Loughborough firmly on the map in Westminster.
18. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about yourself.
I have sung, as part of a choir, on the stages at the Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Barbican and St John’s, Smith Square.
19. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about your constituency. Team GB will be based at Loughborough University before the 2012 Olympics.
20. Share with us your most amusing story or favourite anecdote from the campaign trail.
CCHQ decided to use their new campaign buses for David Cameron’s visit to Loughborough at the start of the second week of the campaign. As usual there were worries about whether there would be enough people in the market place to hear David Cameron speak. I left my campaign team and the CCHQ staff to it and went off to Loughborough station to meet David Cameron’s train. Sitting on the campaign bus we approached a pretty full market place in the bus and drove on there – and kept on driving to the point where I thought we were going to squash a spectator which would have produced very unfortunate headlines for all concerned. Fortunately the CCHQ staffer knew the dimensions of the bus better than me and we had about an inch to spare, but I was still recovering from what might have happened as the leader’s speech began.
> Previously: Margot James MP
9 Jun 2010 18:24:10
More maiden speeches from yesterday’s debate on the Queen’s Speech, focusing on the economy.
Nicky Morgan, who gained Loughborough at the general election, emphasised the importance of the manufacturing sector:
“Much has already been said—and, I am sure, will continue to be said—about spending cuts and tax rises, but more needs to be said about supporting private sector businesses, which are the backbone of our economy. We rely on our private sector businesses to provide employment, to train apprentices, to give people skills and, of course, to supply exports.
“In March in Loughborough, just before the election campaign started, we received the devastating news that AstraZeneca is to close its Charnwood site, with the loss of at least 1,200 jobs locally. I hope that I will have the opportunity in future debates to raise a number of issues relating to the closure. I am proud to be part of the taskforce, of which my predecessor Andy Reed was a vital part, that is working to fill the site and plug the gap. I hope that we will end up not with a black hole in the middle of Charnwood, but with a site that new businesses and many other industries can use, so that we can still have a full manufacturing sector in the town.
“We need to support strong manufacturing businesses, particularly with regard to research and development. Although manufacturing accounts for only about 20% of our economy, it accounts for about 75% of research and development in this country. The services sector is important, but manufacturers take on apprentices and give people new skills in a way that the services sector does not necessarily do so. We need both. I am delighted to see that, in the coalition agreement, the Government mentioned the need for a more balanced economy; in fact, that was mentioned earlier today, too.”
This theme was taken up by Gavin Williamson, who steps into Sir Patrick Cormack’s shoes in Staffordshire South:
“Far too often, young people who go into manufacturing or engineering are seen as taking a second-class career, whereas we reward and sing the praises of people who go into accountancy, the law or public relations. We do not sing enough the praises of our designers, engineers and manufacturers. We need to change that ethos and have a similar one to that of Germany or Japan. We will have a truly vibrant economy only when we recreate the Victorian spirit of ingenuity and inventiveness that made Britain such a vibrant country, as I am sure it will be again.
“I truly welcome the Prime Minister’s comments about the importance of manufacturing and I hope that the Treasury team listen well to his comments and do not spend all their time listening to bankers. They should also listen to manufacturers, because we often have a lot more common sense than bankers. I hope I can play my part in representing South Staffordshire and the people of a beautiful and lovely constituency, and that I can ensure their voices are heard loud and clear in this Chamber.”
Meanwhile, Kwasi Kwarteng, who is the new MP for Spelthorne, accused Labour MPs of being in never-never land when it comes to the economy:
“I have to say—even though this is a maiden speech, I will be controversial—that to hear Labour Members in many of these debates is to be in never-never land; they have not once accepted any blame for what happened and they seem to think that we can just sail on as before. In many of their eloquent speeches it appears that they have forgotten that wealth creation is the most important element in getting us out of this recession. I heard the right hon. Member for Oldham West and Royton (Mr Meacher), who I believe has been in the House for 40 years, say that he was going to tax those in The Sunday Times rich list. Of course, one of the results of their being rich is that they can leave the country in about half an hour, so if he were to go down that route, a lot of them would leave and he would not bring in any more money to the Exchequer.
“One of the right hon. Gentleman’s remarks reminded me of the story of the man who, when leaving a gentlemen’s club—it might have been the Carlton Club—in 1970 gave the footman sixpence. The footman looked at him and said, “That is only sixpence”, to which he replied, “Ah, it is sixpence to you, but it is a pound to me.” That was because income tax was at 95 or 97%. We cannot go down the road that the right hon. Gentleman suggests, and the Conservatives have stressed again and again that the only way to get out of this difficulty is to try to let business grow.
“I should say that the truest words said in this debate were uttered by someone making a maiden speech, my hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough (Nicky Morgan), who said that the private sector is the “backbone of our economy”. In my few weeks in the House, I have not heard any truer words uttered in it. That is something that we have to be absolutely focused on, in terms of getting out of the recession. I hate to say this, but I find it staggering that Labour Members have not had the good grace to come to the House to apologise and to show some recognition of the very real problems that we face and the solutions that we need to get out of this situation.”