Last Updated: 14 February 2020
Created: 14 February 2020
I attended the Honda Taskforce meeting on Monday. The taskforce brings together all the local stakeholders and representatives who are actively working to both support Honda and its supply chain workers, as well as seeking to find new employment opportunities for the key Honda site. It is good to see that Honda is working pro-actively to support these efforts and it is clear with the Honda site benefitting from size, excellent transport links and Swindon hosting a hardworking, diverse and skilled workforce, it will be attractive to new investment. The Swindon Local Enterprise Partnership has been working on plans to help attract a mix of new employment opportunities, these are exciting and rightly have the full support of everyone at the taskforce. There is still much to do, but we were greatly encouraged at the co-ordinated works.
Back in Parliament, I am writing this article as the beginning of the reshuffle has begun. The PM has an unenviable task, with more MPs wishing, even expecting! to serve as ministers than there are roles available. There is no set career path, or exact formula to who may or, may not get a role. Has your good, or not so good performance in Parliament or the media been noticed? Do you have specific knowledge in an area of focus for the Government? Have you been active during the time they are considering all the changes - a bit like being selected for a sports team, it helps to hit a run of form immediately before the squad is selected! Every colleague is nervous, perhaps some more than others, but everyone is waiting around for the news. Certainly no-one is away from their phone today!
Generally, the sackings are done privately first in the PMs Office in Parliament, away from the media, though those announcements are not always announced publicly until the end. The PM will then head to Downing Street to begin the appointments.
I remember the first time I was appointed as a minister, under David Cameron. I wasn’t expecting the call, in fact I initially missed the call, but I was asked to head to Downing Street straight away, past the awaiting media and cameras trying to get advance knowledge of the appointments. You are then invited into the Cabinet Room where the PM formally invites you to take up a ministerial role, and then a brief discussion on what they want you to focus on. You are then immediately whisked off to your respective department.
My understanding is that, at the beginning of the reshuffle, they have mapped out who will, or won’t get roles, but not everyone accepts what they are offered, so events can overtake any plans they have! At this stage, I don’t know whether I will be asked to continue in my role or not, but I am thrilled that my good friend Robert Buckland MP has been asked to continue as the Lord Chancellor. With the recent serious events he has shown his knowledge, dedication and calmness in the role are a real asset to the Government. He is a very strong voice for Swindon at the heart of the Government.