The Cabinet Reshuffle: Right-winger with liberal leanings: Donald Macintyre looks at the varied career of Jonathan Aitken, who becomes Chief Secretary
Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt. As Political Editor and then Chief Political Commentator, he previously covered the John Major and early Tony Blair era. He has written for the Daily Express, Sunday Times, Times and Sunday Telegraph, and Sunday Correspondent. He is the author of Mandelson and the Making of New Labour (2000).
Thursday 21 July 1994
In 1970, he was stood down as candidate for the crusty Yorkshire seat of Thirsk and Malton - partly because he had earlier campaigned for legalisation of cannabis. Although independent- minded and not a natural Europhobe 'bastard', in John Major's unguarded phrase, he is on the right on the touchstone issues of economic policy and Europe - he was long a driving force with Sir Teddy Taylor, of the European Reform Group, almost entitled to see fellow Cabinet Eurosceptics as Johnny-come-latelies.
But he is liberal on other issues, having supported reform of the Official Secrets Act, is anti-hanging and spoke out publicly against Rupert Murdoch's 'monopoly' acquisition of the Times in 1981.
Long overdue for promotion when Mr Major brought him into the Government in 1992, he was given the defence job as much because of his Middle Eastern business connections with arms-buying countries, as despite them. He was a director of Al Bilhad UK Ltd, which had contracts with the Saudi royal family, and was deputy chairman of Aitken Hume, which channelled pounds 2.1m into TVam.
But he has reinforced his credibility as a public expenditure-cutting Chief Secretary because of his leading role in securing the cuts embodied in the Defence Costs Study, which he has handled with skill and sensitivity. He now has the difficult task of holding down public expenditure.
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity
Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94
Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)
- 1 Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Miss Honduras Maria Jose Alvarado's stylist Luis Alfredo Garcia is found stabbed to death
Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...
£400 - £420 per day: Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton...
£25000 per annum + training: Langley James : Web Developer; PHP, MySQL, Java; ...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + £100,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: Birmingham, Derby, L...