Coffee House

New Number 10 policy board announced

15 October 2013

After last week’s reshuffle and the gap left by Jesse Norman’s departure from the policy board, Number 10 has announced a number of promotions which increase the board’s size –  and its brainpower. Alun Cairns, Andrea Leadsom, Priti Patel, Chris Skidmore and Nadhim Zahawi have all been promoted, which is interesting as all of them bar Skidmore are rebels to a greater or lesser extent. So it’s a sign that the Tory leadership wants to forget past troubles and use all the best brains to forge 2015 policy. But it’s also useful to have independently-minded MPs joining the group anyway, as the last thing the board tasked with developing flagship policies needs is a group of obedient MPs without any ability to think freely.

Patel and Skidmore are co-authors along with other MPs of After the Coalition and Britannia Unchained and represent the hard-headed, free-market wing of the party, along with Cairns, Zahawi and Leadsom, who are also members of the influential Free Enterprise Group. Perhaps these appointments will also deal with the charge from some quarters that the original board was a bit too lefty and Europhile. Leadsom in particular will be essential in developing policies on Europe: her Fresh Start Project has been instrumental in making the case for reform to other European parliaments. And Cairns is a member of that thoughtful ‘curry club’ group of MPs.


One of the concerns about the policy board so far was that its members had failed to gel. It will be interesting to see how the new bunch works – and what its first policy announcements will be: so far we’ve only heard one peep from this group.

The Number 10 policy board in full:

Jake Berry
Alun Cairns
Nick Gibb
Margot James
Andrea Leadsom
Peter Lilley
Priti Patel
Chris Skidmore
Paul Uppal
Nadhim Zahawi

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  • Stanley

    Leadsom, Patel, Skidmore and Zahawi – very good choice by Cameron. These people will recreate the success of the South in the North. Use dividend from the South for infrasture/business grants in the North. Leave EU, go to Swiss-style model and start HS2 from both ends and complete it in half the time. The Europeans won’t mind (as long as we pay 25% of £9billion i.e.2.25 billion swiss-style model) if we leave. They know we do not have that shared European solidarity/identity. All Mr Cameron has got to have is some courage.- He needs to watch Battle of Britain (that bit when you know Lovejoys family is going to get it) and the Italian Job (combination of Cockneys and Posh boys) and then he will finally be one of us.

  • Mynydd

    Surely the government is enacting Conservative party policies right now, why should this change after the next general election. Is this policy board about to say, the deficit reduction plan is not working and should be changed to _ _ _ _ _ _ _ or maybe, Mr Groves free schools was a mistake and should be changed to

    • Smithersjones2013

      This is a Coalition. The Libdems do have some influence. I suspect there are a number of policy areas where policies would be considerably different if it was a Conservative majority government and just as the Libdems are blaming the Tories for everything the Tories are as sure as eggs going to blame the Libdems too (immigration, energy, human rights, business, criminal justice, taxation, the EU, the English question, boundary reforms etc etc).

      None of it will be the Tories fault. It will be the Coalition’s and primarily the Libdems fault. Just wait

      PS And its ‘Gove’ not ‘Groves’

  • Smithersjones2013

    Leadsom in particular will be essential in developing policies on
    Europe: her Fresh Start Project has been instrumental in making the case
    for reform to other European parliaments.

    Oh dear poor Izzy’s head is stuck up someone’s orifice once again. How many times does Barrosso have to repeat himself. There will be no unilateral renegotiation. We will not get what we want from negotiations because there will not be any. The pathetic Leadsom is either the gullible and naive recipient of EU lip service or just another disingenuous liar from our political underclass and there will be no referendum anyway because the Tories will lose in 2015.

    It doesn’t matter how many times the Tory propaganda machine repeats this spin it won’t make it come true……

  • Colonel Mustard

    A total of 33 comments by telemachus in the Andrew Mitchell thread, attempting to defend the indefensible and impugn Mitchell.

    • telemachus

      There are 2 sides to any story
      We have not heard the end
      The police (WM) did wrong
      The Cabinet Minister did wrong(admitted swearing)
      I decry the cheerleaders for the Tory Party orchestrating yesterdays total vilification of our police

      • Alex

        Yeah, because if someone used a rude word is as important as the honesty and integrity of the police force.

      • Colonel Mustard

        You should stop and get back on to your medication.

  • Daniel Maris

    Ok, now tell us how to solve the north-south divide, eliminate unemployment, secure growth, protect the environment, stop mass immigration…

    • dalai guevara


  • asalord

    Soon to be Scotia Unchained.

    • David Lindsay

      If you have to keep saying it…

      • real_telemachus

        He can say it again and again. Again.

    • real_telemachus

      We can only hope. Would get rid of 20% of welfare and ‘public service’ costs and condemn labtard to oblivion so a win-win. Where do I vote?

      • David Lindsay

        Ah, the strange, illiterate delusion that Labour has ever depended on Scotland for an overall majority. That has never happened. Not once. England does not end at the M25, or even at the Wash.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Indeed and Conservative won constituencies extend right to the Scottish border.

          • telemachus

            Mustard is after the crown

            • Colonel Mustard

              And telemakeitupas is stalking.

          • Mynydd

            And only one above it

        • Smithersjones2013

          Ah, the strange, illiterate delusion that Labour has ever depended on Scotland for an overall majority. That has never happened.

          Yes it has. In 1964 if you exclude the Scottish results it leaves Harold Wilson’s Labour Party as the largest party but without a majority and potentially without the ability to form a government. The Conservatives (and their off shoots) with the support of the Ulster Unionists on the other hand could have formed a government. Hume would have been PM and Ted Heath might have just have sailed away on Morning Cloud playing his organ…….

          Labour won the Feb 1974 election and formed a government without a majority. Take away the Scottish seats and the result would have been Con 275 Lab 261 and as such if Heath could have done a deal with either the Ulster Unionists or the Liberals he would have had a majority and been able to form a government. He would likely have remained in Downing Street rather than handing the keys back to Wilson,

          Of course its easily proved that Scotland denied the Conservatives a majority in 2010 as well given that by excluding Scotland the figures would have been Con 305 Lab 217 Others 80

          So there are three specific occasions when Scotland, as much as anywhere else, has definitely influenced the outcome of the election (in Labour’s favour) . Put another way 50% of the times since WWII that Labour have replaced the Conservatives in Government has been as much to do with the Scots as anyone else.

          Now what were you saying about ‘strange illiterate delusions’?

          PS And what’s the odds that Scotland influences the 2015 election in much the same way?

          PPS Never say ‘Never’…..

  • David Lindsay

    Even before Britannia Unchained, Chris Skidmore stood no chance of holding his seat in 2015. But he is interesting as a kind of token figure among that book’s authors, a white, public school Tory active in the C of E. The rest recall the founders of neoconservatism.

    Elizabeth Truss is a very recent liberal (indeed, Liberal) Leftist, doubtless as anti-monarchy and as anti-marriage as ever, and in that case correctly identifying neoliberal economics and neoconservative geopolitics as serving her constitutional and social agenda perfectly.

    The rest of the Britannia Unchained authors are people from profoundly privileged backgrounds who nevertheless identify as ethnic outsiders waging war against the British equivalents, and even relatives, of the upper-crust WASP Republicans who never let them into their fraternities or their country clubs. They loathe Anglophilia and Jesse Norman’s Burkeanism as much as any signatory to the PNAC ever did.

    • real_telemachus


      • David Lindsay

        You mean that you didn’t understand it. In that case, it wasn’t written for you, luv.

        For everyone else, though, several other recent promotions from the Blues rather than the Yellows are similar: an assisted suicide enthusiast who came up through the NUS and the SDP; people who both joined and left the Labour Party long after I did, which means that they were still in it well into the last Parliament; and so on. Scoop Jackson lives.

        • real_telemachus

          Neotwattery. Again.

          • David Lindsay

            Point proved.

            • real_telemachus


              • David Lindsay

                Yes. Again.

                • neotelemachus

                  And one more time……

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Wor Davey’s just plain neo (as in Near Earth Object)

        • real_telemachus


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