Jesse’s Hereford Times Column: My New Government Position

Hello again everyone!  This is my first Hereford Times column since the General Election, which already seems like a lifetime ago. Harold Wilson once said that a week is a long time in politics, but in light of recent events it feels like an hour is.

Hello again everyone!  This is my first Hereford Times column since the General Election, which already seems like a lifetime ago. Harold Wilson once said that a week is a long time in politics, but in light of recent events it feels like an hour is.

As I think back over the campaign, one thing comes to me again and again:  what a pleasure and an honour it was to be able to spend seven weeks travelling back and forth across the constituency, knocking on doors and meeting residents from Garway to Gorsley, Cusop to Kerne Bridge and Ewyas Harold to Tupsley and Belmont.

Everywhere I went I was reminded of the wonderfully friendly nature of this county, and how lucky we are to live here.  Legitimacy in politics comes from personal accountability, and between innumerable conversations and nearly a dozen hustings, I got a bucketful of it.

And very healthy too!

But now that the dust has settled on the campaign, I and my colleagues have been through all the opening formalities—election of the Speaker, swearing in, and the Queen’s Speech—and we are fully back to business in Westminster. 

For me personally the big news is that I was appointed as Minister for Transport by the Prime Minister in her post-election reshuffle.  My responsibilities will focus on—wait for it—roads and road transport, two issues of major interest to every Herefordian who has struggled with potholes or rural buses, i.e. all of us.

I leave my previous role as Energy Minister at the Business Department with real sadness.  As well as Energy, I had two other key responsibilities there:  helping to develop the new Industrial Strategy, and working to support a range of Local Enterprise Partnerships across the country, including our own Marches LEP.

All these roles really helped me to make the case for our new university project.  I could see the value of top-quality tech and engineering education in the oil and gas and nuclear industries; I could argue for its importance to the Industrial Strategy; and I could work with the Marches LEP to try to make sure its £8-10 million funding bid was successful—as, thank goodness, it was. It also helped that the key decision-makers were close at hand!

But I can’t wait to get stuck in to my new portfolio, and will report back when I’ve got my feet properly under the desk.