Reshuffle days are always a bit tense and there were so many rumours flying about on Monday night and Tuesday early morning about where I was going that someone said to me that I had (according to the rumour mills) been linked with almost every department.
Fortunately, I was summoned relatively early in the morning on Tuesday to the Deputy Prime Minister’s office. He told me that changes had to be made and that meant, clearly, that some colleagues would have to step aside. So I steeled myself for bad news. ‘But you are not one of them’. What you might call a Simon Cowell moment!
So – an a busy and exciting week as I start my new ministerial job as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development!
I’ve absolutely loved doing equalities work for so many years – and now it’s great to be returning to International Development, which I used to shadow in opposition and which is a department I worked closely with on much of my overseas equalities work, promoting human rights and equal treatment not just in the UK but also in other countries.
So I want to say a huge thank you to everyone I have worked with in this field – and best wishes to my successor with this incredibly important and precious portfolio.
I am pleased to hear that you have such a useful and potentially productive role. I have every respect for your dedication and abilities to succeed in that area. However, I hope you realise that just by being part of the coalition you are serving the most right wing government since 1945. In the long term, anything you do will be judged in relation to that function. Britain is one of the most unequal countries in Europe – there is considerable misery most dramatically figured in the work of Atos. The Lib Dems will go down in history as the dupes and guarantors of a nasty regime of privileged and corrupt Tories. Its abundantly clear now that your influence is waning and you are simply the outriggers of their policies.