More than half of the 13 Conservative MPs from Scotland now have government jobs after a raft of PPS appointments.

The exodus of Tory MPs from government jobs after Theresa May struck her Brexit deal left the prime minister with lots of vacancies to fill – or deckchairs to shuffle.

While those ministers who resigned were replaced reasonably quickly, a raft of parliamentary private secretary positions – the first, unpaid rung on the ministerial ladder – were left unfilled.

In some cases, this was deliberate: Julian Smith, the chief whip, told existing PPSs in November that some positions had been left unfilled on purpose – so as to give him carrots or “poor man’s knighthoods” to wield before would-be rebels or to reward loyalty ahead of the meaningful vote.

Since then, appointments to the vacant posts have been made quietly, with announcements made at the discretion of the gigs’ recipients. Jack Lopresti, a rare Brexiteer backer of the agreement, was appointed PPS to Steve Barclay last month, while Andrew Bowie, a Scottish Tory elected in 2017, became Theresa May’s second PPS in the days between Christmas and New Year.

Otherwise, there has been radio silence and the government has not updated its official PPS list since September. The NS has learned, however, that a raft of appointments have been made with next to no fanfare from either the MPs or ministers in question.

Huw Merriman, the Bexhill and Battle MP first elected in 2015, has been promoted from assisting the junior Treasury ministers to PPS to Philip Hammond, the Chancellor. (This post that had been left deliberately vacant for some time after its previous incumbent, Kwasi Kwarteng, was appointed a Brexit minister in November.)

His former colleague as PPS to the Treasury ministerial team, Gillian Keegan – elected MP for Chichester in 2017 – replaces Will Quince, who quit the payroll to oppose the Withdrawal Agreement, as PPS to Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary.

Julian Knight, the 2015 intake MP for Solihull, moves from his role as PPS to the junior DWP ministers to replace her at the Treasury; while John Howell, who won the Henley by-election in 2008, becomes junior PPS at the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (a promotion that has struck colleagues given his relatively advanced age, 63, and length of parliamentary service).

Most striking, however, is the promotion of two more Scottish Conservative MPs elected in 2017 onto the government payroll. …read more

Source:: New Statesman

      

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Scottish Tory MPs are the big winners from a quiet round of government promotions

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