» Monday, October 12, 2009

Ministerial portfolio changes

Asked about the change of Ministerial portfolio at the Foreign Office, the PMS said that this had been outstanding business for a few weeks because of Lord Malloch-Brown standing down. The change announced today was internal housekeeping; there would be no additional Ministers and no Ministers departing Government, which meant that there would not be a replacement for Lord Malloch-Brown.

Asked why Glenys Kinnock had been moved from her original portfolio, the PMS said that it was a sensible move for both Ministers involved as they both had experience in the subjects (Europe and Africa).

Asked if there had been a change because Europe had now become a sensitive political issue and that it needed to be dealt with in the House of Commons as opposed to the House of Lords, the PMS said that he would not characterise it like that; it was housekeeping and a sensible adjustment of portfolios, particularly in light of the fact that Lord Malloch-Brown would not be replaced.

Asked what specific African experience Glenys Kinnock had had, the PMS said that Glenys Kinnock had had a lot of developmental experience regarding Africa. He did not have the details in front of him so it was best to speak to the Foreign Office for details.

Asked what Ministerial level Glenys Kinnock and Chris Bryant would now be, the PMS said Glenys Kinnock remained Minister of State and Chris Bryant was a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State.

Put that the Europe job had been downgraded, the PMS said that it was a question of what the portfolios were, rather than jobs.

Put that Chris Bryant had Twittered about his new portfolio and asked if Ministers should be allowed to do this, the PMS said that this was a growing phenomenon and the Prime Minister had no concerns about his colleagues using all forms of modern technology to communicate with wider groups.

Put that the change at the FCO looked like a downgrade of responsibilities, the PMS said that it should not be interpreted in that way; the two Ministers in question were experienced politicians and they were part of an impressive team led by the Foreign Secretary. The Prime Minister thought that both Ministers were doing very good jobs.

Asked if Chris Bryant would attend Cabinet, the PMS said that he would not attend Cabinet.

Asked what Chris Bryant’s title would be, the PMS said that it was best to speak to the FCO.

Put that the Prime Minister had stressed Glenys Kinnock’s experience in Europe when he originally appointed her and asked if he had been dissatisfied with her, the PMS said that that was not the case; the Prime Minister had been very pleased with the performance of both Glenys Kinnock and Chris Bryant. This change was about a reshaping of portfolios within the FCO, not a reshuffle.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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