Conservative Diary

« Does David Cameron want big state charities or big society charities? | Main | The massive Northern Ireland state needs an effective and resourced Opposition »

One to Watch in 2011

Mark Harper Jonathan Isaby's pick: One junior Conservative minister who has had a particularly busy first few months in office is Mark Harper, the amiable Forest of Dean MP who is the Cabinet Office minister working alongside Nick Clegg on the political and constitutional reform agenda. In this role, he is currently responsible for flagship legislation relating to the AV referendum, the boundary changes and fixed-term Parliaments.  He was one of only eight of the 2005 intake to be give jobs by David Cameron in December 2005 and he has seamlessly transformed from being an adept opposition frontbencher into a competent minister, well-versed in parliamentary procedure and respected by his colleagues. Once his current crop of bills have reached the statue book, don't be surprised if he is rewarded with a big promotion.

SHAPPS GRANT-1 Tim Montgomerie's pick: If a vacancy arises in the Cabinet don't be surprised if it is filled by the current Housing Minister Grant Shapps. One of the most formidable teams in Whitehall serves Eric Pickles. In Greg Clark the Secretary of State for Local Government has one of the Tory benches' biggest brains and in Grant Shapps, Eric has one of the party's best communicators. Some wondered if Grant Shapps was as bright as he is charismatic but his handling of very hot public disputes on housing and local government funding have revealed a mastery of policy equal to his easy-going broadcast style. Plenty of people in politics can win intellectual arguments but they do, at the same time, demonstrate the kind of Emotional Intelligence that wins people over. Grant Shapps has shown in recent months that he has that special quality.

Graham Brady 2010 Paul Goodman's pick: It may seem odd to nominate someone to make waves in 2011 who's already done so in 2010.  But since tensions within and between the Coalition parties aren't likely to lessen, the role of Graham Brady, '22 Chairman, will become even more crucial.  Brady's already become one of the very few politicians to have taken on David Cameron and beaten him - forcing the Prime Minister to back off his plan to merge the '22 with the front bench, and going on to win the election which the move had been designed to halt.  The nature and timing of Brady's interventions this year could decide the Government's future.

Picture 13 Harry Phibbs' pick: Greg Hands. The talented MP for Chelsea and Fulham and PPS to the Chancellor of the Exchequer lost out on a Ministerial post due to the coalition. I expect this situation to be rectified before too long. His political killer instinct is well known to ConservativeHome readers.


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.