Tory 'love for Eton' rapped as Young steps up

David Cameron added a former Cabinet minister, Sir George Young, to his front team today to add much needed "depth and experience" to the Tory leadership.

Sir George, who served in John Major’s Cabinet as Transport Secretary from 1995 to 1997, takes over as shadow leader of the Commons from Alan Duncan, who was sacked for saying during a secretly recorded interview that MPs are living on ‘rations’.

Mr Cameron hinted in July that he wanted to bring some of the older Tories, who can remember what it was like to be in government, back into front line politics.

The promotion of 68 year old Sir George Young means that there are now three former Cabinet ministers in Mr Cameron’s shadow cabinet. The others are the shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague, and the former Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke, brought back in January as Shadow Business Secretary.

Many other leading Tories were not even MPs when the last Conservative government fell in 1997. Mr Cameron, the Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, and the Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling all entered the Commons in 2001.

Labour MPs also quickly pointed out that swapping Mr Duncan for Sir George has added another old Etonian to the front line of the Conservative Party. Sir George is a hereditary baronet who owes his title to the role that one of his forebears played in the Battle of Trafalgar, 204 years ago.

"David Cameron’s love for Eton knows no limits," the Labour MP Denis MacShane claimed today. "He has removed good professional politicians like Alan Duncan and replaced them with southern constituency public school millionaires."

But Mr Cameron insisted that Mr Duncan himself had agreed that he would have to move to more junior job after his gaffe. "In George Young we have got someone of great talents, depth and experience," he added

Known as the ‘cycling baronet’, Sir George has always been on the liberal wing of the party. Margaret Thatcher kept him on the lowest rung of government for seven years, then sacked him in 1986.

In July, David Cameron indicated that he wanted more experienced hands into his front bench, including Sir George. Others he named were John Gummer, who was appointed party chairman by Margaret Thatcher 26 years ago, Peter Lilley, Social Security Secretary in 1992-97, Stephen Dorrell, Health Secretary in 1995-97, and James Arbuthnot, a former armed forces minister.

Mr Cameron made these comments at a time when he was being accused of using the row over MPs’ expenses to rid himself of some of the Tory old guard, while protecting others of his own generation.

Old stagers such as Douglas Hogg, who tried to claim the cost of cleaning out his moat, and Sir Peter Viggers, who claimed for a duck house, have had to agree to stand down at the next election.

But Michael Gove, who claimed for £7,000 worth of luxury fittings for his Kensington home soon after becoming an MP in 2005, and then transferred his allowance to a new house in Surrey, and claimed over £13,000 removal costs, remains a trusted member of the shadow Cabinet.

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments