Major names policy chief
Thursday 22 December 1994
After what some Whitehall insiders say has been a difficult trawl for a suitable candidate, the Prime Minister has picked a 42-year-old father of five to co-ordinate the quest for new policies to form the basis of the Tories' fifth election campaign since 1979.
The scale of the task facing Mr Blackwell, a partner of McKinsey and Company, is underlined today by a Mori poll in The Times which shows the Government as more unpopular than any in polling history. It shows Labour's lead as having climbed to 39 points,with the party at 61 per cent, the Tories at 22 per cent and the Liberal Democrats 13 per cent. Only 8 per cent of electors - and only 29 per cent of Tory supporters - are satisfied with the Government's performance.
If Mr Blackwell follows Mrs Hogg's example he will also be responsible for day-to-day "banging of heads'' in Whitehall to ensure that departmental policies follow the Prime Minister's wishes.
Mr Blackwell has an outstanding academic record, with a PhD in finance and economics, and he is said to have impressed Baroness Thatcher when he was a member of her policy unit in 1986 and 1987.
Some Tory sources, while praising Mr Blackwell's intellect and ability as a problem-solver, doubted whether he was enough of a "political thug'' to dominate the Whitehall jungle or ruthlessly exploit every Labour weakness in the run-up to the election. Although he was chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association and has served as a local party ward chairman, his career experience is mainly managerial. He will be paid as a Second Permanent Secretary with a salary of £87,435.
Downing Street acknowledged that other potential candidates had been considered, but that Mr Blackwell emerged as the leading contender.
- 1 Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
- 2 Novel Scarlett Johansson tried to ban, Grégoire Delacourt’s The First Thing You See, to be published in UK
- 3 Toby Sheldon: Justin Bieber lookalike found dead in motel room
- 4 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
- 5 Pregnant teenager Neysi Perez 'wakes up in coffin' a day after her funeral
Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
Nazi gold train: 'Significant' discovery made in Poland
Toby Sheldon: Justin Bieber lookalike found dead in motel room
Horses 'neglected for 15 years' found with 3ft-long hooves
Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...
£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing, ambitious, en...