Saturday, 2 January 2010

Lord of the Jungle for Tory Transport Secretary?

This extraordinary suggestion from the Grauniad today...

The shadow transport minister, Theresa Villiers, lacks clout... So step forward, Lord Heseltine. Britain's transport revolution could be your lasting monument.

Hezza, one of the Tory Big Beasts, announced in December that he would surrender the day to day running of his Haymarket publishing empire to his son Rupert this month.

With second jobs outside Parliament now out of favour this would free him to take up a chunky role in any new Tory administration.

The Daily Mail had already predicted the return of Tarzan to the front bench last October:

Lord Heseltine, 76 – nicknamed ‘Tarzan’ after swinging the Commons mace at Labour MPs in the Seventies – would serve for the first year of a Tory administration as an unpaid Minister without Portfolio in the Lords.

And of course there is no longer any obstacle to an unelected peer running transport - this precedent was established by no less a person than the High Speed Evangelist himself!

The big loser, were such an appointment to be made, would be shadow transport minister Stephen Hammond, who has made no secret of his desire for the top job.

Of course the Guardian leader piece might have been influenced by media savvy Lord Adonis himself - keen to safeguard his High Speed legacy or merely create mischief for the opposition?

Either way 2010 promises to turn up several more surprises as we head towards the General Election.