Labour reshuffle: Rising Stars In The Administration's New Middle Management
Friday 30 July 1999
Home Office minister
The former chief of staff to Neil Kinnock for nine years, Mr Clarke was a moderniser before the term was even invented. He entered Parliament as MP for Norwich South at the last election and is extremely well-connected to the party leadership.
Appointed Education minister just last summer, he has proved an able member of the Government. He has been a close associate of Tony Blair since he was a councillor in Hackney, in east London, in the early 1980s, when Mr Blair was a local party member.
A fanatical Arsenal fan and ex-champion high-jumper, the MP for Vauxhall has always said "my aim is to be the first female minister of sport". Ms Hoey, 53, who is from Ulster Protestant stock, impressed Downing Street with her efforts to convince Unionists to support the Good Friday Agreement and was somewhat belatedly promoted to her former post as junior Home Office minister after a stint as PPS to Frank Field. Ms Hoey's manner is occasionally spiky but always articulate. She made enemies on the back benches for opposing the fox-hunting ban.
LORD MACDONALD OF TRADESTON
Appointment as Transport minister caps a remarkable rise for the former Glasgow shipyard worker who led an apprentices' strike as an 18-year-old. Last year he became unpaid Scottish industry minister and was the driving force behind a deal that saved jobs at Kvaerner Govan shipyard. He spent eight years in the shipyards before joining Tribune. He moved to the Sunday Times and Scotsman before joining Granada Television. Described as a "gold-plated Labour man", he went on to become chairman of Scottish Television.
Trade and Industry minister
One of the first MPs of the 1997 intake to get a ministerial job last year, Patricia Hewitt, 50, impressed Gordon Brown with her intellectual dynamism and effective performance as Economic Secretary to the Treasury. The MP for Leicester West was widely praised for her punchy attacks on the Conservative frontbench team at the dispatch box, although some critics have accused her of being patronising at times. She has been described as "one of the cleverest" people in the Labour Party but has failed to win over the hearts of backbenchers.
BARONESS SCOTLAND OF ASHTAL
Foreign Office minister
Britain's first black female minister, she was greeted with a kiss by Robin Cook as she made her way into the Foreign Office. She was appointed one of Tony Blair's working peers in last year's honours list. Patricia Scotland, 42, who became Britain's first female black QC in 1991, was once told by a teacher to try for a job in Sainsbury's after her family moved to Britain from Dominica when she was three. She studied at London University and was called to the bar in 1997. Is a former member of the Commission for Racial Equality.
Downing Street stressed that left-wing views were no bar to elevation and the appointment of Chris Mullin as Environment minister is an example of that. A former press officer to Tony Benn in the 1980s, the MP for Sunderland South has made no secret of his views. Although his natural modesty would forbid it, he can claim much of the credit for the successful campaign to free the Birmingham Six. He caught the eye of ministers, for repeatedly roasting Freemasons for failing to declare their members among police and judiciary.
Foreign Office minister
Peter Hain, once the scourge of the apartheid regime in South Africa, has become a full member of the Establishment with his appointment as a minister in the Foreign Office, say his friends. Mr Hain was regarded as a resounding success as a junior Welsh Office Minister with promotion only a matter of time. In the wake of the low Labour turn-out in the Welsh Assembly elections, Mr Hain accused Tony Blair of chasing the Daily Mail readers of middle England at the expense of traditional Labour- supporting Mirror readers. But Mr Blair plainly decided the Government should not be deprived of Mr Hain's remarkable energy and political acumen simply because of this outburst.
It has taken Mr Wicks all of nine months to get a ministerial position. But for many, the surprise has been that it did not come sooner for the MP for Croydon North and former social scientist. As chair of the House of Commons' education select committee, Mr Wicks impressed with the way he brought a social policy perspective to education issues. He has been keen to put the interests of families and particularly of children centre stage in the committee's inquiries.
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