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Westlake Legal Group > Nadhim Zahawi MP

Iain Dale: There are good ministers left behind by the Government’s drastic shuffle

Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio, and is the author of the forthcoming book ‘Why can’t we all just get along’.

The reshuffle is finally complete. Looking through the final line-up of ministers in each department it’s clear that this really wasn’t just a reshuffle, it was a clearing of the decks. The number of non-Boris supporters left in government is minimal, although the balance of Remainers versus Leavers is still uncomfortable for some. Some of the decisions, though, are quite baffling.

Why on earth would anyone think it a good idea to move Robin Walker from the Brexit department to be a minister in both the Scottish and Northern Irish offices? Why wasn’t keen Boris supporter and superb media performer Nadhim Zahawi promoted to Minister of State? He goes out to bat in the media where angels fear to tread, and whenever I see him I greet him by saying: “Ah, it’s the Minister for Sticky Wickets.” There are plenty more strange appointments and injustices I could mention.

Looking through all the different departments, I’d say the strongest ministerial line-ups are at Business, Education and the Home Office. There is strength in depth in all three departments.

There are a few names in the ministerial list, where you look at them and scratch your head in bewilderment. I’ll spare their blushes here…

– – – – – – – – – –

Two junior appointments caught the eye and, in a way, they reflect what I said about the Prime Minister recently – that he’ll be a shit or bust prime minister – either brilliant or utterly useless. The appointment of Zac Goldsmith as an Environment Minister and Nadine Dorries to the Department of Health will, in retrospect, be seen as inspired or whatever the opposite of inspired is. Both have the ability to really shine, but many will suspect they won’t have the self-discipline to curb their natural rebellious natures. We’ll soon see. Nadine has mental health under her policy remit. She has the personality to really make a difference here. I remember another junior minister hailing from Liverpool who was sent to the Department of Health in the late 1980s. We all remember what happened to Edwina Currie, but we forget the fact that until her resignation she had been doing a brilliant job in promoting public health.

– – – – – – – – – –

Some of the stories I have heard about the way the government was formed are hair-raising indeed. There were stand-up rows in Number Ten with ministers who had assumed they were going to be promoted to a higher rank than they were offered. Flounces were had. Tanties were experienced. I could name names, but apart from satisfying readers’ prurience I’m not sure what purpose it would serve.

One of the interesting things about this government will be to see how CCHQ operates. As I understand it, the new co-chairman Ben Elliott is in control of things day to day and is effectively the replacement for Sir Mick Davies, who departed last week as chief executive. James Cleverly will take on a much more front-facing role and become the Minister for the Today Programme. In some ways this is the more traditional role for the chairman. Going back to the 1980s and 1990s the chairman would effectively be the lightning rod for the Prime Minister. Being a co-chairman, though, is never quite the same as being Chairman on your own. I understand James wasn’t consulted about having a co-chairman and I do wonder how this relationship will pan out.

– – – – – – – – – –

I’m writing this in my rather inglorious student digs in Edinburgh, where I’m spending the next ten days hosting my ‘Iain Dale – All Talk’ show at the Fringe. Yesterday was the first day of previews and I hosted two shows featuring three ex Conservative Party Chairmen: Sayeeda Warsi, followed by Eric Pickles and Brandon Lewis. If James Cleverly is reading this, he now knows what lies in store for him! Both shows went well, with, I think, the right mix of light and shade. It was just a relief to get the first day done with. This evening I’ve got new Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer and Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey. It’ll be interesting to see how on message Johnny Mercer can stay. I do hope ministerial office doesn’t ruin his natural enthusiasm and sense of mischief. As regards Len McCluskey, one thing I do want to know is this. A friend of mine was in his office recently and noticed he has two chess sets on display. One I can understand, but two? It’s a bit like Boris writing two articles on Brexit before deciding which way to jump. Sort of.

– – – – – – – – – –

As you read this, I might face an enormous logistical challenge. If the Liberal Democrats have won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, their new leader Jo Swinson will naturally want to visit to reflect in the glory. However, she’s due to be with me in Edinburgh at 6pm. I do hope the Lib Dem ops team are on form, otherwise I’ll be having a conversation with myself.

If you’re in Edinburgh between now and 11 August do pop along to see my show. The full guest line-up can be found here.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Which MP is backing which candidate. Our named estimates. Johnson 112, Hunt 44, Gove 34, Javid 21, Stewart 14

The arms race to name supporters has begun, and on balance we’ve decided to join it.

We have been compiling our own list for some time both of declared and undeclared supporters of possible contenders.

Some names will doubtless come off one column and be added to another…only perhaps later to revert to the original.

At any rate, here we go: as we wrote recently, what strikes us so far is how fluid the Parliamentary stage of the contest is presently set to be.

– – –

Boris Johnson – 112

  • Nigel Adams
  • Stuart Andrew
  • Steve Baker
  • Steve Barclay
  • Paul Beresford


  • Jake Berry
  • Peter Bone
  • Andrew Bowie NEW
  • Ben Bradley
  • Andrew Bridgen


  • James Brokenshire
  • Robert Buckland
  • Conor Burns
  • Alun Cairns
  • Bill Cash


  • Rehman Chisti NEW
  • Therese Coffey
  • Damian Collins
  • Colin Clark
  • Simon Clarke


  • James Cleverly
  • Geoffrey Cox
  • Tracey Crouch NEW
  • Leo Docherty
  • Nadine Dorries


  • Oliver Dowden
  • Richard Drax
  • James Duddridge
  • Iain Duncan Smith
  • Michael Ellis


  • Charlie Elphicke
  • Nigel Evans
  • David Evennett
  • Michael Fallon
  • Mark Francois


  • Lucy Frazer
  • Marcus Fysh
  • Zac Goldsmith
  • Chris Grayling
  • Andrew Griffiths


  • Matt Hancock
  • Simon Hart
  • James Heappey
  • Chris Heaton-Harris
  • Ranil Jayawardena


  • Bernard Jenkin
  • Andrea Jenkyns NEW
  • Robert Jenrick
  • Caroline Johnson
  • Jo Johnson


  • David Jones
  • Daniel Kawczynski
  • Greg Knight
  • Kwasi Kwarteng
  • Mark Lancaster


  • Andrea Leadsom
  • Andrew Lewer
  • Julian Lewis
  • Ian Liddell-Grainger NEW
  • Jack Lopresti


  • Craig Mackinlay
  • Stephen McPartland
  • Esther McVey
  • Ann Main
  • Kit Malthouse


  • Scott Mann
  • Paul Maynard NEW
  • Johnny Mercer
  • Amanda Milling
  • Andrew Mitchell


  • Damian Moore
  • Anne Marie Morris NEW
  • Sheryll Murray
  • Andrew Murrison
  • Matthew Offord


  • Priti Patel
  • Owen Paterson
  • Mike Penning
  • Andrew Percy
  • Mark Pritchard


  • Jacob Rees-Mogg
  • John Redwood
  • Lawrence Robertson
  • Douglas Ross
  • Andrew Rossindell


  • Lee Rowley
  • Bob Seely NEW
  • Grant Shapps
  • Alok Sharma
  • Chloe Smith


  • Henry Smith
  • Andrew Stephenson
  • Bob Stewart
  • Graham Stuart
  • Julian Sturdy


  • Rishi Sunak
  • Desmond Swayne
  • Ross Thomson
  • Justin Tomlinson
  • Craig Tracey


  • David Tredinnick
  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan
  • Liz Truss
  • Martin Vickers NEW
  • Theresa Villiers


  • Ben Wallace
  • David Warburton
  • Matt Warman
  • Heather Wheeler NEW
  • John Whittingdale


  • Gavin Williamson

Jeremy Hunt – 44

  • Harriet Baldwin
  • Peter Bottomley
  • Steve Brine
  • Alistair Burt
  • James Cartlidge


  • Jo Churchill
  • Greg Clark
  • Glyn Davies
  • Alan Duncan
  • Caroline Dinenage NEW


  • Jonathan Djonogly NEW
  • Philip Dunne
  • Mark Field
  • Vicky Ford
  • Liam Fox


  • Mike Freer
  • Mark Garnier
  • Nus Ghani
  • Robert Goodwill
  • Roger Gale


  • Richard Graham
  • Greg Hands
  • Oliver Heald
  • Nick Herbert
  • John Howell


  • Andrew Jones
  • John Lamont
  • Alan Mak
  • Patrick McLoughlin
  • Huw Merriman


  • Penny Mordaunt
  • David Morris
  • James Morris
  • Will Quince
  • Mark Pawsey


  • John Penrose
  • Mark Prisk
  • Amber Rudd
  • Royston Smith
  • Alec Shelbrooke


  • Keith Simpson
  • Iain Stewart
  • Helen Whateley

Michael Gove – 34

  • Peter Aldous
  • Richard Bacon
  • Kemi Badenoch
  • Karen Bradley
  • Jack Brereton


  • Alberto Costa
  • David Duguid
  • George Eustice
  • Michael Fabricant
  • Nick Gibb


  • Luke Graham
  • Bill Grant
  • Kirstene Hair
  • John Hayes
  • Trudy Harrison


  • Damian Hinds
  • Kevin Hollinrake
  • Stephen Kerr
  • Edward Leigh
  • Oliver Letwin


  • Rachel Maclean
  • Mark Menzies
  • Anne Milton
  • Nicky Morgan
  • David Mundell


  • Bob Neill
  • Guy Opperman
  • Neil Parish
  • Claire Perry
  • John Stevenson


  • Mel Stride
  • Tom Tugendhat
  • Ed Vaizey

Sajid Javid – 22

  • Lucy Allan
  • Edward Argar
  • Victoria Atkins
  • Fiona Bruce
  • Stephen Crabb


  • Mims Davies
  • Kevin Foster
  • John Glen
  • Robert Halfon
  • Luke Hall


  • Simon Hoare
  • Caroline Nokes
  • Chris Philp
  • Mary Robinson
  • Andrew Selous


  • Chris Skidmore
  • Gary Streeter
  • Derek Thomas
  • Robin Walker
  • Mike Wood


  • Jeremy Wright

Rory Stewart – 14

  • Richard Benyon
  • Ken Clarke
  • Tobias Ellwood
  • David Gauke
  • Dominic Grieve


  • Margot James
  • Gillian Keegan
  • David Lidington
  • Paul Masterton
  • Victoria Prentis


  • Antoinette Sandbach
  • Caroline Spelman
  • Nicholas Soames

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Nadhim Zahawi: Johnson and Raab showed their Brexit commitment by resigning. That’s why we need them both in the final.

Nadhim Zahawi is Minister for Children and Families and is the MP for Stratford-on-Avon.

We have reached a crucial phase in the Conservative leadership contest. A contest which will not only select a new leader of our Party, but a new Prime Minister.

We need a leader with the resolve to lead Britain out of the EU by the end of October and the vision to unite the country to ensure that Jeremy Corbyn and his motley crew of Marxist cronies never set foot in the halls of power.

This task should come naturally to the Conservative Party, which has long held the title of the only serious party of Government. But after nine years in power, that hard-won moniker is at risk of slipping. And if we fail to deliver on our promise to voters to leave the EU, we are toast.

In 2016, the country gave us a clear instruction to leave the EU. In 2017, we established a timeline to deliver Brexit by the end of March 2019. Yet three years on we have not broken the shackles of Europe.

A further extension may seem attractive to buy more time, but with the Brexit Party’s tanks parked on our lawn – and rapidly reloading after the European elections – we need to act fast. We can’t kid ourselves. Nigel Farage poses us a serious threat. But only if we fail to deliver on the mandate voters have given us. In reality, that makes the choice very simple: deliver Brexit by the 31st October, or hand the keys to No 10 to Corbyn.

Yet despite the vivid clarity of the solution to our current mess, this contest is still being portrayed as one requiring a final duel between a candidate committed to leaving the EU in October and one content to delay.

This is a false choice. If we are to deliver for our party membership whom are overwhelmingly in favour of a swift exit, as well as win back voters dabbling with the Brexit Party, we need two candidates who are committed to leaving the EU come what may.

In Dominic Raab we someone with the skill as well as the conviction to navigate the rocky road ahead. Someone who has the experience of negotiating with Brussels but also the courage to walk away without a deal.

But once we have delivered Brexit we need someone with the energy, the ideas and the vision to bring our party together to build a fairer Britain.

We need a leader who can step up to the plate, someone who can market what we’re selling, someone who the public can trust to deliver, and someone who will act in a way that signals to the voting public that we’re serious.

As we saw in last night’s debate, that person is clearly Raab. He’s serious about delivering Brexit, on time and as promised. He’s serious about making our country fairer, and he’s serious about the threat that Corbyn poses. He’s an outstandingly capable candidate in times that call for a leader who can stay the course, whatever comes their way.

He would be able to convince those who are flirting with the Brexit Party that our party is still the best place for their vote, and he’d be able to deliver on building a Government that deserves to win the next election. He’s the right choice, the trusted choice and the serious choice.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Chris Skidmore: Military personnel, veterans and their families deserve better access to Higher Education

Chris Skidmore is Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, and MP for Kingswood.

Since being appointed Universities Minister last December, I have sought to focus attention on which groups in society are not getting the chance to benefit from Higher Education, demonstrating the clear inequalities that still exist and the barriers that certain students face in applying or considering university.

In defining disadvantage, much still centres around income and family background. The establishment of the Office for Students and the Office for Fair Access is providing a renewed focus on improving access and participation at university: registered institutions now need to establish access and participation plans, with conditions placed upon certain universities to improve their access measures. Universities are spending around £860 million on ensuring that more disadvantaged students can access Higher Education, but there is still much more that can be done.

Last month, I set out my own views how we can go even further. In a speech at Nottingham Trent University, I highlighted the work we intend to take forward to spread best practice in the sector, through the creation of the Evidence and Impact Exchange, to eradicate unacceptable inequalities. In addition, we need to start moving from just thinking about getting students to go to university, but to take a whole systems approach that links the student experience, including improving student mental health and student accommodation, to the debate on access and participation. By refocusing our efforts on a ‘student transition, experience and progress’ journey- what I termed a ‘STEP change’ in a speech at the Royal Institution last month – we can ensure that we extend our efforts to ensuring disadvantaged students are given the relevant support throughout their university career.

This approach recognises that there are many groups of students who need extra support and additional interventions if we are to succeed in giving them the chance enjoyed by most. I’ve focused attention on what universities can do to improve the access and experience of disabled students, care leavers and young carers. We have also taken forward measures as a government in the past few months, including raising the Disabled Student Allowance for postgraduate students from £10,500 to £20,000, while Nadhim Zahawi, the Children’s Minister, and I also published a set of ‘Care Leaver Principles’ which provides universities with a template for improving access for care leavers (currently, just six per cent reach Higher Education).

When it comes to going to university, the children of forces families can also face more barriers than most. Not only are young people from military service families less likely to embark on Higher Education than those from civilian backgrounds. Once there, the stresses and strains of having one or more parents in the military can bring about poor mental health and wellbeing, as well as have a detrimental effect on academic performance and overall student experience.

I want to see universities thinking about what they could do to support military personnel and veterans themselves. Serving personnel require a high degree of flexibility and portability in their learning, so they can stop and start a course if deployment calls, or perhaps even resume their studies at another institution should a future posting take them to a different part of the country.

For ex-service people, Higher Education can be the gateway to a new career. Yet the costs of tuition can be off-putting for those already having to readjust to civilian life. And those without prior qualifications may also struggle to find providers, which recognise the experiences and skills gained while in service.

Yesterday I announced that Department for Education is pledging £5 million in continued funding for two separate armed forces projects. The first of these projects, the Service Leavers Scheme, pays the tuition fees for ex-service people who have not completed a Higher Education course before. And the second project, the Armed Forces Bereavement Scheme, provides university scholarships for the children of military personnel killed in duty. Support such as this can go a long way to giving people the head start in life they deserve.

But I also want to do more to ensure that universities reflect upon their civic role in their communities, and to support the armed forces, veterans and their families. The Armed Forces Covenant exists specifically to support serving personnel, service leavers, veterans and their families and remove barriers faced in accessing public services, including education.

Yet, to date, only 57 out of 136 universities have become signatories to the Covenant, including just three from the Russell Group of universities.

Clearly, the Higher Education sector can do more support those who have given the most to our country.

That’s why yesterday I have written a joint letter with my colleague Tobias Ellwood, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, to encourage universities to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant and establish armed forces champions within each institution to better support military personnel and their families.

It’s clear that some universities are already leading the way. Providers like the University of Winchester, which has long been leading by example in this area through its dedicated action and outreach work among the armed forces community, or the University of Central Lancashire which has honoured its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant through the College for Military Veterans and Emergency Services (CMVES). This has achieved national acclaim for helping service members resettle, whilst providing them with specialist advice on course funding, suitable training and civilian careers.

I want this to be just the beginning and, with more universities pledging to support military personnel and their families in the future, we can together create a force for good and honour those who have sacrificed so much.

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