« Tory frontbench reshuffle under way | Main | CCHQ statement on changes to the frontbench in the Lords »


Poor old Bernard, used and abused.

'Shailesh Vara has been appointed Shadow Deputy Leader of the House'

Congratulations to Shailesh,

A worthy appointment.

God help us, John Maples back in the team. The only man I detest more than Francis Maude. And that is saying something.

Other than that wouldn't you have said that James Brokenshire and Anne McIntosh had better things to do (like finding seats) right now?

Really excellent news that Maria Miller has responsibility for Child Support Agency though.

Bernard Jenkins couldnt take on Widdecombe over the A-List. Dont know much about John Maples though.

"Other than that wouldn't you have said that James Brokenshire and Anne McIntosh had better things to do (like finding seats) right now?" - Ben Redsell

Well, in a self-serving sense you are correct. They should be looking for seats to fight at the next election to maintain their position. However, would you not say that one of their first priorities as Shadow Ministers (above that as individual MPs) is to expose Labour Government failings? You know, democracy, accountability and all that?

Bernard Jenkin hasn't been treated with very much gratitude, has he?

Bernard was used to others dirty work, and now he's been tossed aside.

Ben Redsell 16.16:

"God help us, John Maples back in the team. The only man I detest more than Francis Maude. And that is saying something."

It certainly is, in the week that Saddam Hussein was found guilty of mass murder.

surprise surpise the pretender to Witham is promoted out of the blue....the heavy hand of CCHQ....

Seems a bit early for a reshuffle. Plenty of people to be antagonised now on the backbench who were former Cameroons. Poor old Bernard, promoted by IDS and left with him. Promoted by Dave and now dumped. Time to go?

Ben - It's Anne Milton (not Anne McIntosh) that has been promoted.

surprise surpise the pretender to Witham is promoted out of the blue....the heavy hand of CCHQ....

"Out of the blue", Wellness? Evidently you haven't been following the steady demolition of Hodge by Brokenshire as part of the Companies Bill progress. This is well deserved.

Sorry - it seems both Annes have bene promoted.

Anne Milton is a fantastic new MP and a real credit to the party, she's just what the party needs to present a fresh and new image.

"Sorry - it seems both Annes have bene promoted. "

I suppose McIntosh has been moved from Work and Pension team to Education team...not sure if it's a promotion or not

Could James Maskell explain what he means about Bernard "couldn't take on Widdicombe over the "A" list". I watched the DoughtySt TV discussion in full and I thought that Bernard (a) argued his corner well; (b) was quite reasonable on a number of points in doing so (e.g. he acknowledged that there might always be more men than women wanting to be MPs) and (c) despite a spirited discussion, fundamentally it was good-natured with any (mild) insults flowing from the Widdi direction rather than to her.

Having been a bit sceptical about some aspects of the "A" list's operation, I was more in favour of it after having heard Bernard than I had been before. So, whatever the reason for the change, his tussle with the Widdi certainly should not have been held against him.

As someone who has detected anti-Old Etonian paranoia on this site in the past, let me be the first to note that Henry Bellingham is an OE, before someone sees a conspiracy in it. I have also by chance heard him speak from the backbenches and I think he will make an articulate front-bencher. Other than him, I think the Etonian quotient (low as it is other than in the Lords) is unaffected.

...in which case why did Bernard Jenkin get the boot??

"Plenty of people to be antagonised now on the backbench who were former Cameroons"???
I think that it is a little bit early to be predicting "plenty" of backbencher dissidents.
Don't think they will quite match the backstabbing/infighting we saw at the end of Mrs T's reign or in the Major government. Even IDS seemed to get a bit longer. Wishful thinking on your party I think.

I can't see why there should be any sympathy for Bernard Jenkin; he could have refused to carry out so blatantly un-conservative a job as to subject the candidates' list to affirmative action. I do recognise that his wife is a little outspoken about women, and he might have been pussy-whipped. Nevertheless, he is his own man, or nothing.

I thought Anne Widdecombe completely outplayed him on Doughty Street. (There, I've blown my cover - I was sad enough to watch a replay).

Sayonara, Bernie. Keep a space warm on the backbenches for Maude, he'll need succour when he joins you, which he surely will.

Jenkins was on the back foot the whole time. When Widdecombe set the question about Asociations having the freedom to select from the whole list, Jenkins couldnt answer.

Michael, it may have had something to do with him being floored at the National Convention, when one delegate asked him why there were more people from the Royal Borough than from Yorkshire and Lancashire on the A List.

I certainly wouldn't want to be in his shoes when he breaks the bad news to Mrs. Jenkin.

Interesting. I was down at the Stratford-upon-Avon Conservative Association (Maples is the MP here) earlier offering my services as a volunteer as I have moved back home for the time being in need of something to do, and was chatting with the agent for the party here, and we chatted about John Maples a bit, but no let on about this. He's a committed servant of his constituents here and is popular, and I'm sure he'll do a great job as Deputy Chairman. Very hard-working chap.

That said, his big interest is foreign affairs (he sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee and was former Shadow Foreign Secretary) so him getting this sort of job is a bit of a surprise to me.

Can we see the positives here. Some of the best talent from the 2005 intake has been given the chance of a first (of what i'm sure will be many) promotions. I think we should take a moment to celebrate these excellent Members of Parliament.

Bernard Jenkin said I was talking crap when I posed the Yorkshire and Lancashire question on 18 Doughty Street. He gave an awful performance because his basic argument is flawed. I would imagine John Maples has been engaged to argue the same points better.

Some good people promoted here. Surprised at Anne McIntosh though. Would have thought she's got enough on searching for a seat.

What about Ann Jenkin? Has she been sacked too? After all, she was Bernard's brain. He can go off to model jumpers in catalogues now which is surely where he would have been better off in the first place. John Maples could hardly do a worse job

Thanks to Og and James Maskell for explaining what was meant about the Jenkin/Widdi clash. I thought he didn't answer her about providing the full "B" list because he didn't want to, and I did not see it as the clear Widdi victory that you did. I think his point that there is nothing to stop a "B lister" contacting any selecting Association (well advertised on here) putting their local credentials was a fair one. It's then up to the Association to decide how close that connection has to be.

But I do recognise that I can look at this with greater objectivity than the poor blighters trying to get seats, as I am not.

One area where perhaps Maples might do better is in getting more new people to apply who have distinguished themselves in other walks of life (and of varied background), as I think he has stronger business connections, for instance. So far, this aspiration appears only to have got one steamy novelist and one young soap star to show for it.

Will John Maples' Lewisham connections come in handy for James Cleverly in his increasingly desperate search for a seat?

Hague is still there, isn't he? He's the best orator in the whole House of Commons.

Bernard did what was he told, and still got shafted. An interesting lesson there. I wonder if he'll talk? Ann *certainly* will.

Poor Mark Field - That’ll teach him to make inappropriate comments about supporters and phone boxes during leadership elections.

Hell hath no fury like a David Cameron scorned.

Since his somewhat over-enthusiastic mentoring of an A-list lady candidate made the national press, Mark can’t even spend more time with his family.

"Andrew Selous, who has worked tirelessly for a more socially just conservatism..."

Really? Interesting spin. Declare your interest in CCF!

Interesting how Cameron gets others to do his nasty business and take the flak while he ducks.

Through his slavish support for the appalling A list Jenkin has now lost all the "right wing" support he used to court. He's a busted flush with no friends so easily dispensed with. He's finished.

Hague is a much more substantial figure and a possible future leadership threat, so Cameron dropped him in it over the EPP and also used him as a human shield when he decided to upset the pro-Israel lobby.

No doubt Cameron will soon come up with a new wheeze for eroding Hague's credibility further.

Well analysed Tory Loyalist - you assess very accurately the way people like Cameron work. This is similar to the way Howard Flight was shafted by Michael Howard over a non-issue pretext, as he was becoming too competent and threatening to certain other favoured people in the Treasury team...

John Maples used to be in William Hagues team and a newspaper was poking fun at the Tories asking if anyone had heard of the shaddow cabinet- and used John Maples as a case in point.Hope he establishes a better profile this time round.

Thanks Tam. Now do you remember Jeremy Cardhouse, smarmy principle-free "Liberal Tory" from the old Peter Simple Column?

Well he's back, albeit wearing none too well.

Step forward Mr John Maples.

Maybe David Cameron read this about Jenkins

An Asian Tory on David Cameron's A-list of priority candidates has warned that the party had a "mountain to climb" to persuade some activists to accept non-white candidates.

Ali Miraj hit out after being warned by senior MPs that they would be "shocked" if he was picked above a white, middle class male to fight the safe seat of Witham in Essex.

Among them was deputy party chairman Bernard Jenkin - the man given the task of making real Mr Cameron's pledge to make the Conservative benches more representative of society.

The Party has a great deal to thank Bernard for. Few people are more committed to the Conservative cause. He has a great many friends.

But what about Nick Herbert? I would go so far as to say that - in terms of ideas - he has been the most successful front-bencher of the last twelve months. He deserves a bigger role than Policing, to allow him to expand his profile. He is the embodiment of everything the Conservative party should be trying to be: liberal with the right size of l! Herbert's work at Reform was refreshingly clever, reasonable and considered; those are characteristics he has brought to his new job.

This man should be promoted, and fast. I thought better of DC than to punish such a star for his support of DD twelve months ago. Let us hope I was right...

I understand why a lot of people who've met Bernard don't like him, and why that's coming out in this thread. But he is a solid Eurosceptic, and he *did* do a lot of good work in the 92-97 parliament, when it wasn't very fashionable to be a Eurosceptic. Our current leader being a Major loyalist case point.

Wasn't Bernard Jenkin Iain Duncan Smith's campaign manager?

Delighted to see Andrew Selous promoted. He has been working tirelessly on family policy since 2001 & should help DC flesh out his commitments in that area. Similarly, Shailesh Vara is impressive & I hope he will rise quickly.

Robert Goodwill's appointment to the whips is interesting - he was described last year as Cornerstone's "whip" - hastily changed to "convenor" from recollection. Does this signal an intention to engage more closely with Cornerstone's ideas?

My work has brought me into contact with Tim Boswell, & he is a considered and thoughtful character. I hope he enjoys his final years as a backbencher before stepping down.

Interestingly, the party's website does not yet appear to carry the reshuffle story, although the job changes have been made in the "people" section.

I doubt the Party will make a big thing about it.

He was. *And* the first MP to make it over to County Hall for the launch of Howard's coronation, er, leadership campaign. As I say, there's lots of reasons why lots of people dislike Bernard. But, up until this A List business, he's always done more good than harm. Still, he can always make up for that by fessing up about the A List. Watch this space.

Slight tangent (apologies) but Jenkins did say during the debate with Widdy that he had recently spoken to an A lister from Liverpool who had just moved down south and thus had problems applying to northern seats.

It was just a throw away remark, but I'm from Liverpool and I know of NOBODY from this city on the A list. Thus unless they are keeping very quiet, I suspect Jenkins was telling porkies here; to make up for the ridicule he invited from having more K&C councillors on the A list than the total number of A listers from Yorkshire and Lancashire (Andrew Woodman's question).

Good riddance to bad rubbish - he's been hopeless.

Well done to Andrew Woodman on a very good question which caught Jenkins off guard. The reaction from him wasnt very well considered and appeared rude at the least. It wouldnt have hurt to have taken a quick moment to think of a more respectful answer.

All those quick to slate DC for stabbing a minion in the back, Jenkins was offered an 'alternative front bench role.'

I'm no great fan of Bernard Jenkin's politics but this seems a very harsh demotion.

Great to see David Jones promoted, an excellent MP who works very hard for the whole of North Wales. Well done David.

Who cares about Jenkins?
Shailesh Vara is the headliner here! Well done, a very worthy appointment indeed.

When the A list came out in May, Jenkin dismissed those white men complaining at not being chosen with the words "tough" and "politics is not fair".

I am now cracking open a bottle of Spitfire on the news of his demotion. A real mans drink.

I'm really delighted for Shailesh too, he was an ace campaigner and is very talented.

I would agree with the many positive comments about Shailesh! I've known him a long time - since he was Chairman of Greater London CPC - and am delighted that he is doing so well!

Shailesh Vara is very accomplished, and I hope he'll go far.

Thanks for reminding us of that quote, David. It certainly made me chuckle. Like Yagoda, and Yezhov, Bernard Jenkin has found out what happens when the master you've served loyally decides you're expendable.

"I am now cracking open a bottle of Spitfire on the news of his demotion. A real mans drink."

Spitfire seems a popular choice ... z-lister. Can I repeat the "See Maples and die" pun on here?

Some excellent talent promoted here, especially Greg Clark, a star of the Public Accounts Committee.

Perhaps Jenkins can now do one last service by practicing what he has preached for months on end and standing down in favour of a female candidate.

After all, it's not as though his 'talents' are required any longer...

It was just a throw away remark, but I'm from Liverpool and I know of NOBODY from this city on the A list.

Well I'm not surprised. Any dustmen, dinnerladies or other recognisabe members of the working class on the list either?

No, I thought not.

"Politics is not fair" can be Jenkin's epitaph.

It's so true, Bernard, and don't you just know it?

Interestingly Steve, most of the southern candidates who made up the "City Seats Initiative" in the six (hopeless) central Liverpool seats, have made the A list. I met them all at the time and they're decent people, but very little or no ground was made. The few ambitious Liverpudlian Conservatives do tend to go elsewhere, e.g. Nadine Dorries (now MP for Mid-Beds).

Well I can think of Esther McVey who is on the A List and is from Liverpool, not sure if she has recently moved away or not though?

Also, Jason Steen and Amber Rudd fought Liverpool seats in 2005 but not sure if they were local or not.

Very unhappy about John Maples.

I nearly left the party over the A lists as I do not want to be told how to vote.

There is a lot of unrest and if he pushes the A list further a lot of us will leave.

I feel more concerned about our future than ever

John Maples ate my hamster.

One of the sad things about politics is that good, well-intentioned people frequently get taken advantage of by others masquerading as their friends. :-(

Having said that, David Cameron has chosen a good time for a reshuffle. And, as Simon Chapman said, it's good to see opportunities being given to some of the brightest people from the 2005 intake.

The big question now is, will Mr Blair follow David Cameron's lead and undertake his own reshuffle? I know many would like him to take the lead by reshuffling himself out of Downing Street ;-)

Fair play RobD. Esther is indeed from Liverpool and on the A list! Hold my hands up! That said, she hasn't just moved to London since she's the PPC in Wirral West.

The other two weren't local though.

And true enough about the Liverpool PPCs Dep Ed. Merely a stepping stone to greater things eh?! Hopefully the new federation will make some progress in Liverpool!

Bernard Jenkin had two jobs to do: to increase the number of women and minorities in winnable seas, and to do this without alienating an undue number of hard working male candidates and activists generally.

He seems to have had some success in the first count, but looking at the comments on this site over the last few months he has utterly failed on the second count. No, such a job was not going to be easy, but has any B lister heard from central office in months? As a principle failure to do a job well seems and entirely appropriate reason to be sacked.

Nice one, Sean. Presumably that plant pot in the newly airbrushed Shadow Cabinet team photo is called "Bernard"?

Bernard was on a loser from the start.
The constituency parties are run locally, for the benefit of the local electorate. Just what was Central Office doing with the A-List being imposed locally. I'm damned if i'm being told by HQ who is going to represent me, i want to have a hand in the selection process and get the feel of the person who i'm voting for.
Whilst diversity is all well and good, it's a two way street, imposition of a candidate is not democracy.
Cameron on this issue is nothing more than a NuLab clone.

You can see Jenkin's resignation letter, which focuses on the success of the A list, here

Not a bad letter. So he made the decision not Cameron here. I dont agree with the comments about the A List but oh well...

Personally I think replacing Mark Field - a succesful businessman - with Ed Vaizey,who has always been the ultimate political insider, is a very poor decision. (I must admit, given Vaizey's tendency to stick to the Cameron clique like superglue, I do wonder why he didn't get a job first time round??)

This is just one example of people with real world experience losing out to the political obsessives - and yes Vaizey's CV (he was up before me on a selection committee once) reads ok, but at the end of the day the thing he has succeeded at most is politics, with limited success elsewhere.

There are a lot of those type of people around Frank! ;)

Bernard Jenkin has been unfairly treated. Yes he oversaw the much disliked A list but it was Francis Maude who has puffed the expectations about the list to ludicrous proportions giving the media targets which were never achievable. FM is perhaps the most incompetent Chairman in living memory, so much so that some in the Leaders Office can hardly bring themselves to speak to him.... Word also has it here that FM wanted BJ out of the way so that he could engineer his protege Mark McGregor on to the A list. Maples will be a happy man to do his bidding. It is a poor way to treat someone who has tried to make the list work without driving the Associations into a blind fury.

Central Office Insider

Judging by the story in today's Telegraph and the coverage on R4 World at One, I was right to suggest that Jenkin was sacked following his "race row" denunciation by Ali Miraj.

Poor old Bernard. Now to be forever lumped in with that woman who sent out the "F*** off back to Pakistan" poem.

Steve - there are scousers on the A list but I agree that none of them are left in the city. Jason Steen's dad was MP for Liverpool Wavertree till 1983 when he moved off to Devon so I think Jason must have spent some of his early life in the city. Kit Malthouse is another scouser moved south and I think there are more if you dig a bit deeper. The Liver Birds may not fly but those that leave the city always take a bit with them wherever they end up!

No mention of David Jones been promoted to shadow minster of Wales in previous posts.
As a North Walian,mark my words it will be the first of many moves for him.
Well done David!!

Jamie Oliver's Sausage, it came from her email box. It doesnt mean she sent it. And the argument about her name being at the bottom, that could just be an automatic signature. The poem wasnt written by her. It was just forwarded from her inbox. Its a chain mail...

Aki Miraj's reply looks like special pleading to me. He fought a hopeless
seat in Aberavon and got a very winnable marginal next time in Watford but actually LOST votes in the election of 2005 v 2001¹s result. Perhaps this iscounting against him.

Factors in the balance:- Track record counts; profession counts too and in
many seats the word ³banker² is a bit of a frightener.

And lastly in these troubled times there may well be a worry about religious background. I don¹t think race comes into it often As one of those in Hammersmith who
backed Nirj Deva as candidate I think that was a good day¹s work.

Just asking, but has he gone for a second go at Watford??? Should be a Tory seat.

How do you know all that James?

She may just have thought it was funny and sent it on.

It's not her fault the party has no sense of humour these days.

Excellent news to see David Jones going to the front bench. Someone who
has slogged his guts out for the party as a candidate in 97, 01 and 05
and finally got his just reward in sneeking Clwyd West. A Welsh Tory
from a Welsh constituency on the Welsh front bench team is something we
have not seen for a decade. Well done David.

A Welsh Tory from a Welsh constituency on the Welsh front bench team is something we
have not seen for a decade.

I should think he feels like a one-man band.

Just wondering - what connection has John Maples to K&C??

Jamie, I think youve proved my point. We dont know, so accusations that she did it could be as wrong as what I think happened. One thing though. Is it not strange that the papers have held back from saying that she did it to saying it was sent from her account. The papers seem very reluctant to say it was her.

In my opinion it is quite ridiculous for this woman to be penalised over a joke email, whether she wrote it or not.

Many years ago I attended a "Stag Night" run by the local Young Conservatives to raise funds for the party. They hired a comedian who was not only very blue but very racist as well - of course it was all in fun. There were two Pakistanis in the audience and they found it hilarious. There was no malice at all.

Nobody raised an eyebrow and I assume the party was grateful for the funds.

I understand that leading Tory comic Jim Davison still does a similar act.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker