THE Birmingham MP placed in charge of ending Conservative rebellions and in-fighting has said he is looking forward to his new job.
Andrew Mitchell (Con Sutton Coldfield) is the new Chief Whip in David Cameron’s government, following a series of rebellions by backbench MPs over issues such as House of Lords reform, an EU referendum and proposals to ban circus animals.
It will be his task to restore order within the party and convince Tory colleagues to back the Prime Minister - and to stop sniping against their coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats.
Mr Mitchell said: “My first duty will always be to my constituents in Sutton Coldfield. But I am also looking forward to the challenges of my job as Government chief whip.”
The key role was the first to be announced in Mr Cameron’s reshuffle, which is designed to breathe new life into the Government.
Mr Mitchell was not always an ally of the Prime Minister. In the Tory leadership election in 2005, he was campaign manager for Mr Cameron’s rival, David Davis.
He has been International Development Secretary since 2010.
Mr Mitchell, who was educated at Rugby School in Warwickshire and at Cambridge University, served in the Royal Tank Regiment before a career in banking and then politics. He has represented Sutton Coldfield since 2001.
Mr Cameron said: “Andrew has done a superb job as Britain’s Development Secretary. He has made British development policy transparent, focused and highly effective.
“His energy and passionate commitment have placed Britain at the forefront of international efforts to improve the lives of millions of the world’s poorest people. He has made a real difference.
“As Chief Whip, Andrew will ensure strong support for our radical legislative programme, by working hard to win the argument in the Commons as well as playing a big role in the No 10 team. He will be invaluable as the Government embarks on the next, vital phase of its mission to restore our economy to growth and reform our public services.”
The other West Midlands member of David Cameron’s cabinet, Environment Minister Caroline Spelman (Con Meriden), is expected to lose her job following controversies including the plan to privatise some of Britain’s forests, which was scrapped following opposition.
In other changes, veteran Ken Clarke loses his job as Justice Secretary to become roving Minister without portfolio. Party chairman Sayeeda Warsi has also lost her job.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Education Secretary Michael Gove will keep their jobs in the cabinet, a senior Downing Street source said.
The source said the Work and Pensions Secretary and the Education Secretary were considered “key reformers” by the Prime Minister.
“He wants them to stay in place to get the job done.”
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