Thursday, 13 May 2010

Three more ministers for the Westcountry

David Cameron and Nick Clegg tonight appointed three Westcountry MPs to senior government jobs as their Liberal Conservative coalition took shape.

The move, on top of Yeovil MP David Laws' Cabinet job, gives the region a much bigger voice in Government than it had under Labour.

Liberal Democrat North Devon MP Nick Harvey becomes minister of state for the armed forces at the Ministry of Defence. He had previously been the frontbench spokesman on defence matters for his party.

He said: “It is an important job at a time when we are fighting a major war in Afghanistan and obviously I want to ensure the best possible support for our troops and the best possible outcome from the defence review.”

Jeremy Browne, the Lib Dem MP for Taunton Deane and former treasury spokesman, becomes a minister of state at the Foreign Office. He told the Western Morning News how he heard the news from Mr Clegg: “I got a call from the man I must start get used to calling the Deputy Prime Minister when I was in Tesco in Taunton.”

And Hugo Swire, long-serving Conservative MP for East Devon, becomes minister of state for Northern Ireland.

All three men are on the rung below Cabinet level on the ministerial ladder. Mr Laws was named Chief Secretary to the Treasury earlier this week, sitting in Cabinet and working alongside Chancellor George Osborne. West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin will be a minister at the Cabinet Office.

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