• Into The Cabinet/Brexit

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    27 May 2019

    Into the Cabinet

    On Thursday of last week I received a call from the Number 10. The Prime Minister wanted to see me at midday. She met me in the Cabinet room and asked if I was prepared to take a place in the Cabinet as Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Council. I was pleased to accept and honoured to be asked. It was not a long meeting but it was pleasant and I thought how relaxed she seemed given all that she had on her mind. In less than 24 hours she was outside Number 10 setting out the details of her resignation. A sad and emotional end to her premiership. There is now to be a contest within the party to find a new leader – this will conclude by around the end of July. My role in the cabinet may therefore of course be brief but I look forward to embracing my role as Leader of the House. The Leader functions as the government’s voice within Parliament and also Parliament’s voice within Government. Every Thursday I will take questions in the House which can cover virtually any are subject. The only other set piece occasion in which a minister appears before the house to answer questions on just about anything is Prime Ministers Questions – although there the joist between the PM and the leaders of the two largest opposition parties is a far greater test. I am looking forward to my first outing on Thursday of next week. The other role I have is Lord President of the Council. This involves presiding over meetings of the Privy Council. This ancient body passes certain orders. Meetings are held at Buckingham Palace and the Queen is present to give her consent. I had the huge honour of meeting the Queen when I served as as a Whip with certain duties relating to the palace and I look forward to seeing the Queen again in my new role. Just about everyone who has met the Queen remarks on the way she puts you at your ease. She does exactly that as well as working immensely hard on our behalf - we are very lucky to have her.


    The Euro elections were as expected very painful for the 2 main parties with both Conservatives and Labour having a tough time. The lessons are clear. For the Conservative Party – get Brexit done. For the Labour Party decide whether you are for leave or remain but don’t try and pretend that you are both. For Conservatives we need a leader who can deliver Brexit and move towards a renewed domestic offering that can bring our country together and command a majority at the next General Election. For Labour I suspect they will now offer a second referendum. This will prop up their support in constituencies like Central Devon but they will lose it in many of their northern heartlands. More from Mel