David Cameron explains decision on Alan Duncan

David Cameron today said he kicked Alan Duncan out of his top team after "reflecting" on his claim that MPs were being forced to live "on rations".

But the Tory leader insisted that Mr Duncan agreed it was right for him to make way for veteran Sir George Young.



"I had some time to think about it over the summer and parliament will be coming back soon," Mr Cameron told Sky News.



"One of the most important things I have to do is just make sure all the time and think all the time, have I got the right people in the right posts as a strong opposition and as an alternative government?



"On that basis, I came to the decision that that it was right - and Alan agreed actually - it was right for him to move from that job to another job outside the Shadow Cabinet, but an important job in terms of dealing with the nation's prisons."



Mr Duncan's move to shadow prisons minister represents the end of eight years' constant service in the shadow cabinet - the last nine months as shadow leader of the House.



The Conservative leader has faced calls to sack the Rutland and Melton MP since last month, when he was covertly filmed by campaigner Heydon Prowse.



Asked why people would no longer want to become MPs, Mr Duncan said: "Basically, it's being nationalised, you have to live on rations and are treated like s***."



His remarks were particularly embarrassing because his job meant he led the party on reform of the system of MPs' expenses and allowances.



Controversy has surrounded Mr Duncan since the Daily Telegraph revealed he claimed around £4,000 for gardening at his constituency home over three years, including £598 to service his ride-on lawnmower.



It is understood that he was forced to pay back more than £5,000 by Mr Cameron.



Last night Mr Duncan said it was a "sensible decision", adding: "You have to be realistic about how difficult the expenses issue has been.



"What matters most is winning the election and David Cameron becoming the Prime Minister.



"I don't want to be a brake on that by making a difficult issue more problematic. I am very happy to get stuck into another job."



One of the longest-serving Tory MPs, Sir George entered Parliament in 1974 and served as a minister under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, rising to Transport Secretary. He was previously shadow Commons leader under William Hague, but left the front benches in 2000 to mount the first of two unsuccessful campaigns to become Speaker.



The North West Hampshire MP has most recently been chairman of the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee, which acts as an internal watchdog overseeing MPs' behaviour, but he has not been at the forefront of demands for reform of expenses.



Mr Duncan takes over as shadow justice minister from Edward Garnier, who has now been appointed shadow attorney general.



That position was previously held by shadow justice secretary Dominic Grieve, who had both jobs.





Labour former minister Denis MacShane pointed out that Sir George was an Old Etonian like Mr Cameron, and accused the Tory leader of favouring "public school millionaires".



"Cameron has done too little, too late - why has he dithered for three weeks?" he said. "And if Alan Duncan's not fit to be on the frontbench then why not sack him?"

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Direct Sales Consultants - OTE £65,000 - £100,000

£65000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This national direct sales com...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Consultant - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Can you sell? Want to earn over...

Recruitment Genius: Partitioners / Carpenter / Multi Skilled Tradesmen / Decorator

£28000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Various opportunities are avail...

Recruitment Genius: Trade Marketing Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company leads the market i...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum