• Thu. Jun 20th, 2024

Rishi Sunak drafts in Red Wall MP Lee Anderson as deputy Tory chair

Bynewsmagzines

Feb 7, 2023
Outspoken Red Wall MP Lee Anderson - a former Labour councillor - has been made Tory deputy chair

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Rishi Sunak has drafted in an outspoken Red Wall MP as deputy Tory chair as he moves to shore up his support on the backbenches.

The PM has appointed Lee Anderson – a Brexit-backing former Labour councillor – to the key role under new chairman Greg Hands.

The Ashfield MP is known for his willingness to speak his mind, suggesting people on low incomes should get cooking lessons to save money and questioning whether nurses earning more than £30,000 need to use food banks.

He has often clashed with pro-EU campaigner Steve Bray near Parliament.

Mr Anderson’s promotion seems designed to reassure Red Wall colleagues that their opinions are being taken seriously, as well as offering a counterbalance to Mr Hands – a strong Remain supporter.

The move was the most striking part of a mini-reshuffle by Mr Sunak that was accompanied by a dramatic overhaul of Whitehall departments.

Outspoken Red Wall MP Lee Anderson - a former Labour councillor - has been made Tory deputy chair

Outspoken Red Wall MP Lee Anderson - a former Labour councillor - has been made Tory deputy chair

Outspoken Red Wall MP Lee Anderson – a former Labour councillor – has been made Tory deputy chair

The Ashfield MP is known for his willingness to speak his mind, suggesting people on low incomes should get cooking lessons to save money and questioning whether nurses earning more than £30,000 need to use food banks

The Ashfield MP is known for his willingness to speak his mind, suggesting people on low incomes should get cooking lessons to save money and questioning whether nurses earning more than £30,000 need to use food banks

The Ashfield MP is known for his willingness to speak his mind, suggesting people on low incomes should get cooking lessons to save money and questioning whether nurses earning more than £30,000 need to use food banks

Grant Shapps‘ Business Department is being merged with Trade – and Kemi Badenoch will take charge. 

Mr Shapps will be shifted to a new Energy Security department. In a step that could enrage some Conservative MPs he will also be titled Secretary of State for Net Zero. 

There will be a new ministry of ‘Science, Innovation and Technology’, including responsibilities for digital issues currently held by the Culture Department. That will be headed by Michelle Donelan, although there are claims that Michael Gove turned the job down. 

Along with Mr Hands, Lucy Frazer joins the Cabinet in Ms Donelan’s old Culture brief. 

The reshuffle is not affecting Deputy PM Dominic Raab, who faces an inquiry into bullying claims.

On a visit to an energy project in London this afternoon, Mr Sunak said the Whitehall changes could help cut household costs.

‘I think we’ve seen over the last year in particular the impact that happens to people’s bills at home when energy policy doesn’t work properly, when we’re reliant on imported energy from hostile countries,’ he said.

‘That’s why the creation today of a new department focused specifically on energy security and net zero is so important.

‘It’s going to mean that we can reduce people’s energy bills – that’s so important – it means we can produce more energy here at home, giving us more independence and security, and it means we can transition to cleaner forms of energy as we hit our net zero ambitions and create jobs in the process, as we’re seeing here today.

‘We’re focused on delivering for the British people and this will help us do that.’

However, gloomy Tories have been expressing bewilderment at the ‘bizarre’ decision to attempt a major revamp of the ‘back end’ of government barely a year before the likely election date. The Lib Dems claim it could cost the taxpayer £60million.

One Conservative source branded it ‘deckchair day’, a reference to the saying about shifting chairs on the Titanic as it sank. 

Rishi Sunak has announced a mini-reshuffle of the Cabinet today

Rishi Sunak has announced a mini-reshuffle of the Cabinet today

Rishi Sunak has announced a mini-reshuffle of the Cabinet today

Grant Shapps' (left) business brief is being merged with Trade, with Kemi Badenoch (right) taking charge of the new department

Grant Shapps' (left) business brief is being merged with Trade, with Kemi Badenoch (right) taking charge of the new department

Grant Shapps’ (left) business brief is being merged with Trade, with Kemi Badenoch (right) taking charge of the new department

The PM has installed veteran trade minister Greg Hands as the new chief at CCHQ

The PM has installed veteran trade minister Greg Hands as the new chief at CCHQ

The PM has installed veteran trade minister Greg Hands as the new chief at CCHQ

The Government said that the creation of four new departments would ‘ensure the right skills and teams are focused on the Prime Minister’s five promises’.

A new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero will be tasked with securing the UK’s long-term energy supply, as well as ‘bringing down bills and halving inflation’.

A new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology will ‘drive the innovation that will deliver improved public services, create new and better-paid jobs and grow the economy’.

The Department for Business and Trade will ‘support growth by backing British businesses at home and abroad, promoting investment and championing free trade’.

A new-look Department for Culture, Media and Sport will ‘recognise the importance of these industries to our economy and build on the UK’s position as a global leader in the creative arts’.

Mr Shapps tweeted: ‘Delighted to become the first Secretary of State for the new Department for Energy Security & Net Zero. My focus will be securing our long-term energy supply, bringing down bills and thereby helping to (halve) inflation.’ 

The changes to the Business Department will effectively unwind previous tweaks to the machinery of government.

How Tony Blair almost created the Department for PENIS 

Rishi Sunak will be hoping to avoid emulating a blunder committed by Tony Blair when he shook up Whitehall in 2005.

Those changes were initially intended to rename the Department for Trade and Industry.

But the minister Alan Johnson pointed out that the new title – the Department for Productivity, Energy, Industry and Science had an unfortunate acronym.

In his autobiography, Mr Johnson revealed he asked Mr Blair: ‘Why has the name of my department been changed to Penis?’

They agreed to change the name back to the DTI, with officials noting with ‘great merriment’ that the erection of signs had yet to go ahead.  

Theresa May merged the Department for Energy and Climate Change with the Business Department in 2016.

Energy departments also existed under the Heath, Wilson, Callaghan and Thatcher governments.

A Department of Trade and Industry was last in operation between 1983 and 2007, when it was split.

One weary Tory source said the idea of a ‘mini-reshuffle’ with major Whitehall machinery changes in the first 100 days of Mr Sunak’s premiership was ‘bizarre’. ‘What a time to be alive.. The timing makes no sense – but perhaps I’m missing some hugely intelligent political power play.’

Another said: ‘It takes a year or more to do the back end of these machinery of government changes.’

Mr Sunak made joint trip with newly-appointed Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Mr Shapps  to the District Energy Centre in King’s Crossafter the announcements.

He tweeted: ‘The Government needs to reflect the priorities of the British people and be designed to deliver for them.

‘These changes will focus teams on the issues that will build a better future for our children & grandchildren.’

Downing Street played down questions about how expensive the reorganisation of Whitehall departments might be.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said details of costs would be set out in the normal way.

‘It’s worth stressing obviously the teams are already in place,’ he said.

‘This is about bringing together teams under the priorities of the Prime Minister. So we wouldn’t expect there to be significant additional costs to this.’

Mr Sunak is desperate to get back on the front foot as he faces barbs from predecessors Liz Truss and Boris Johnson over key planks of government policy.

Calls for early tax cuts have been growing on the Tory backbenches, while Ms Truss used a Spectator interview last night to lament the lack of a strategy to boost the economy.

Mr Sunak had seemed to be struggling to find a big hitter to take over as Tory chair, with both Brandon Lewis and Priti Patel making clear they did not want the role.

The first task of the new incumbent will be to prepare for local elections in May, which most MPs expect to be a bloodbath.

A Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll today found Labour has a 26 point lead, the biggest since Mr Sunak took over in Downing Street.

Nadine Dorries said it was ‘sad’ that her former Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport was set to be broken up.

The ex-culture secretary, who was replaced by Michelle Donelan when Liz Truss became prime minister, said the department has ‘tragically lacked profile of late’ despite being the most effective in Whitehall.

‘Track record in tech, digital, gigabit roll out, telecoms, data speaks for itself,’ Ms Dorries said.

Development minister Andrew Mitchell did not deny there is a reshuffle in the offing.

Lucy Frazer (pictured) joins the Cabinet in Michelle Donelan's old Culture brief, although it now does not include responsibility for digital

Lucy Frazer (pictured) joins the Cabinet in Michelle Donelan's old Culture brief, although it now does not include responsibility for digital

Lucy Frazer (pictured) joins the Cabinet in Michelle Donelan’s old Culture brief, although it now does not include responsibility for digital

Ms Donelan will move to head up a new ministry of 'Science, Innovation and Technology'

Ms Donelan will move to head up a new ministry of 'Science, Innovation and Technology'

Ms Donelan will move to head up a new ministry of ‘Science, Innovation and Technology’

He told GB News: ‘Well, these are matters way above my paygrade and they are matters for the Prime Minister, but I’m very happy indeed doing a job which I’ve done before and loved very much, which is the international development job and I’m going to do my best, particularly today, to see that Britain puts its shoulder to the wheel and that we save as many lives as we can.’ 

Mr Sunak will be hoping to avoid emulating a blunder committed by Tony Blair when he shook up Whitehall in 2005.

Those changes were initially intended to rename the Department for Trade and Industry.

But the minister Alan Johnson pointed out that the new title – the Department for Productivity, Energy, Industry and Science had an unfortunate acronym.

In his autobiography, Mr Johnson revealed he asked Mr Blair: ‘Why has the name of my department been changed to Penis?’

They agreed to change the name back to the DTI, with officials noting with ‘great merriment’ that the erection of signs had yet to go ahead.  

Former ministers voiced concern about the dramatic overhaul of Whitehall being planned by Mr Sunak

Former ministers voiced concern about the dramatic overhaul of Whitehall being planned by Mr Sunak

Former ministers voiced concern about the dramatic overhaul of Whitehall being planned by Mr Sunak

A Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll today found Labour has a 26 point lead, the biggest since Mr Sunak took over in Downing Street

A Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll today found Labour has a 26 point lead, the biggest since Mr Sunak took over in Downing Street

A Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll today found Labour has a 26 point lead, the biggest since Mr Sunak took over in Downing Street

High-flying barrister who took fast-track to the Cabinet 

Lucy Frazer was a high-flying barrister before entering Parliament as the MP for South East Cambridgeshire in 2015.

Born in Yorkshire, she was educated at the independent Gateways School for Girls and studied at Cambridge – where she met husband David, who runs a recruitment firm. 

Ms Frazer developed a speciality in commercial law, and was a QC by the age of 40. 

Successive PMs have wasted little time in promoting her through the political ranks.

The mother-of-two made a name for herself successfully steering a backbench law against ‘upskirting’ through Parliament.  

She was among the first members of her intake to get on the ministerial ladder, becoming a justice minister in January 2018.

The 50-year-old served as solicitor general and prisons minister under Boris Johnson, becoming one of the few female frontbenchers trusted to run the gauntlet of a morning broadcast round.

During one set of interviews in January 2021 she revealed that her father had did while suffering Covid – although she said that was not the cause.  

Ms Frazer was transport minister under Liz Truss, and housing minister under Rishi Sunak before her elevation to the Cabinet. 

New Tory chair is Tesco Meal Deal-loving multi-lingual Remainer who mocked Boris Johnson for fleeing to Kabul to miss Heathrow runway vote 

Rishi Sunak unveiled a Boris Johnson critic and Remainer as Tory chairman today as he finally replaced Nadhim Zahawi.

Greg Hands moved from being Trade Policy Minister to take up the role, more than a week after Zahawi was sacked over his family tax affairs.

Mr Sunak is believed to have struggled to find someone willing to fill the role, and his choice of Mr Hands in a role linking the Government with the party faithful may raise some eyebrows.

The father-of-two, 57, who speaks five languages including Czech and German, has been an MP in London since 2005 and has served as a minister under every prime minister since David Cameron. 

But he was also a leader of the Remain campaign in the capital in 2016. More recently he also clashed with Boris Johnson over the proposed third runway at Heathrow.

Hands resigned as a minister in 2018 in order to oppose the air hub expansion in a Commons vote, while Mr Johnson, then foreign secretary and a fellow opponent of the plan, flew to Afghanistan in order to avoid the vote and having to resign.

At the time Mr Hands, a Plymouth Argyle fan who had been on a pilgrimage at a Romanian monastery, used Twitter to mock Mr Johnson. ‘Great to arrive back in the UK at Luton Airport in time for the match today and to vote against Heathrow expansion tomorrow,’ he wrote. ‘I wouldn’t want to be abroad for either of those. #commitments.’

Mr Sunak has also launched a dramatic reshaping of Whitehall, with Grant Shapps‘ Business Department being merged with Trade – and Kemi Badenoch taking charge. 

Greg Hands moved from being Trade Policy Minister to take up the role, more than a week after Zahawi was sacked over his family tax affairs.

Greg Hands moved from being Trade Policy Minister to take up the role, more than a week after Zahawi was sacked over his family tax affairs.

Greg Hands moved from being Trade Policy Minister to take up the role, more than a week after Zahawi was sacked over his family tax affairs.

He is also noted for some off-piste tweets, including one praising Tesco for freezing the cost of its Meal Deal for five years.

He is also noted for some off-piste tweets, including one praising Tesco for freezing the cost of its Meal Deal for five years.

He is also noted for some off-piste tweets, including one praising Tesco for freezing the cost of its Meal Deal for five years.

His wife, Irina Hundt, is German (couple pictured in 2005) and in 2018 he revealed the impact of the Brexit vote on his family.

His wife, Irina Hundt, is German (couple pictured in 2005) and in 2018 he revealed the impact of the Brexit vote on his family.

His wife, Irina Hundt, is German (couple pictured in 2005) and in 2018 he revealed the impact of the Brexit vote on his family.

Mr Shapps will be shifted to a new Energy Security department.  There will be a new ministry of ‘Science, Innovation and Technology’, including responsibilities for digital issues currently held by the Culture Department. That will be headed by Michelle Donelan. 

Along with Mr Hands, the Lucy Frazer joins the Cabinet in Ms Donelan’s old Culture brief.   

The reshuffle is not likely to affect the future of Deputy PM Dominic Raab, who faces an inquiry into bullying claims.

However, gloomy Tories have been expressing bewilderment at the ‘bizarre’ decision to attempt a major revamp of the ‘back end’ of government barely a year before the likely election date.

One branded it ‘deckchair day’, a reference to the saying about shifting chairs on the Titanic as it sank. 

Mr Hands was born in New York and raised in the US until he was seven. His family then moved back to the UK. He maintains dual UK-US nationality.

He was educated at state schools but his Tory biography says his family ‘was constantly on the move, due to the Labour Government of 1974-1979 closing down grammar schools’. 

He spent a gap year in West Berlin, working in a McDonalds  and a swimming pool before heading to Cambridge. A first in modern history was followed by eight years as a banker and time spent as a councillor in Hammersmith and Fulham. 

He took the Hammersmith and Fulham parliamentary constituency from Labour in 2005 with a majority of more than 5,000. The seat was abolished in the 2010 election, when he won the new Chelsea and Fulham constituency.

He was a shadow Treasury minister in opposition and rose to become a whip and then Chief Secretary to the Treasury under Cameron in 2015. Theresa May moved him to trade the following year after becoming PM, but he resigned in 2018 over Heathrow. Since then he has been a trade minister under Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Mr Sunak.

He also ran the London mayoral campaign of Shaun Bailey, who was defeated comfortably by Sadiq Khan in 2021. 

He is also noted for some off-piste tweets, including one praising Tesco for freezing the cost of its Meal Deal for five years.  

His wife, Irina Hundt, is German and in 2018 he revealed the impact of the Brexit vote on his family.

‘My wife is German, my children are bilingual, and on the day of the referendum, or the day after, my son – who at the time was nine years old – cried over the result,’ he told HuffPost.

‘He didn’t really understand it. He may have thought that his mother and father would now be forced to separate.’

More recently he showed his loyalty to Mr Sunak when his wife, Akshata Murty, came under pressure over her non-dom tax status. He suggested that there could be a racial element to the criticism, telling the BBC: ‘Some of the commentary about her being a foreign national has been unpleasant.’

More recently he has attracted the ire of China over a trade visit to Taiwan. 

Beijing said the UK must ‘stop sending the wrong signals’ after he visited Taipei in November, becoming the latest foreign official to defy Beijing’s warnings over contacts with the island.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and threatens to annex it by force. It also seeks to isolate it diplomatically, requiring governments that it has formal relations with to respect its ‘one-China’ principle.

The U.K. should ‘earnestly respect China’s sovereignty, uphold the one-China principle, stop any forms of official contacts with Taiwan and stop sending wrong signals to Taiwan independence separatist forces,’ Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a daily briefing.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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