The role of junior Ministers

Under Labour junior Ministers spent most of their time it seemed on local and regional media and trade press. They tended to define the Ministers role as communication. If you went to a meeting with one of them about a constituency issue or problem they usually left the substance to officials, whilst thumbing through files of press clippings to highlight items they disliked. To me it looked as if they were only doing part of the job . Before you can communicate as a Minister you need to have satisfied yourself about the policies, and played your part in ensuring good delivery of service. You have a media problem if the department is letting people down through poor policy or poor execution of policy. The fix for that is not to get better at media handling, but to engage with sorting out the underlying problem.

The ONS study of public sector productivity shows it fell most during the middle Labour years when they threw plenty of public money at their departments and programmes. Ministers did not supervise the way the money was spent properly, and did not supervise it to achieve better results. The new Conservative government needs to learn from this disappointing history, and put Ministers of State in charge of supervising budgets, achieving higher quality results, ensuring extra spending is matched by extra output. Taking an interest in what staff can achieve with the money, encouraging them and assisting in putting it in the right places should be an essential task of Ministerial leadership. Cabinet Ministers need to be strategic and to contribute to the wider government policy debate, so this is an ideal task to delegate to experienced Ministers of State.

I held two important Minister of State commands. One was in the business department in the days when that department was the financial and general business regulator for all firms apart from the banks. I needed to take an active part in ensuring quality and in targeting resources on the handful of cases where we needed to take action. The second was as Minister for local government, where I had a huge budget to allocate and supervise. In both departments various quangos reported to the Secretary of State. I took on the detailed tasks of setting and reviewing budgets, setting and reviewing performance targets, mentoring or replacing Directors and CEOs. It was interesting and worthwhile work. There was plenty of what business calls low hanging fruit or easy wins when it came to finding ways to do things cheaper, better, faster.

The new government needs to hone its skills and use its Ministers to raise the game of the bodies they supervise. The Chancellor is right to make higher productivity his main crusade. What better place to start than the public sector which he helps control. We already have the people in place to do the job. The Ministers need directing and energising to perform this role.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Indeed most ministers just sound like PR spin doctors mouthing the words of the departments.

    The only protection for the tax paying public in the system is the democraticially elected politicians they fail almost everytime to perform this role. The state thus charges a fortune and delivers almost nothing net at all.

    • Hope
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Why do we read today that there will be a five year transitional deal! No No No. This is to allow remainers a chance to change our minds, again, and a specious way to justify paying the EU vast sums of our taxpayers’ money. When is your govt going to grow a pair and negotiate to leave.

      Remainers are always keen to state what we voted for. Let us have it the other way. We never voted for a transitional deal, we never voted to stay in by other names, we never voted to stay in the ECJ or ECHR. We voted leave. Anyone living in this country should be subject of our laws and our courts. No oversight in any form by the EU. If this is not acceptable to EU citizens leave. Citizens from other countries are not imposing their court or judicial systems for their citizens in our country! It is so prosperous that it is ridiculous. It should not even feature in negotiations.

      No transitional deal in any shape or form. We all voted to leave by two years, Cameron tried to scare us by saying if we left there would be no turning back. Good. We do not want to turn back or being gently left off the hook to continue to pay vast sums of money for Eastern European infrastructure projects when we cannot afford the same at home, we do not want continued mass immigration that Italy cannot currently cope with, introduced by menacing Merkel. Leave means leave within two years. this is plenty of time for business to get a grip.

      • Hope
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        Guido reports hiring in the city of professionals is up by 17 percent! Not in the papers. Osborne and co said there would be a mass exodus. Why is Hammond not crowing from the roof tops at this good news? Why has the directors institute, chambers of commerce and CBI not shouting how good this is. When this bunch of so called business leaders met dithering May did they pass on the good news?

        Come on JR, where are the ministers and junior ministers in promoting this good news. How about the useless Khan where is he tonpromote the goods news in London.

        Oh, I forgot they are still trying to scare us about a cliff edge somewhere. Or are they worried about mass immigration coming from Italy, the ECB on the verge of more catostrophic intervention, once more, reports in Germany how the press colluded to suppress Merkel’s mass immigration labelling anyone who spoke out as racist! Sounds familiar. Not a mention by those overpaid staff at the BBC

      • Hope
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        Guido reports hiring in the city of professionals is up by 17 percent! Not in the papers. Osborne and co said there would be a mass exodus. Why is Hammond not crowing from the roof tops at this good news? Why has the directors institute, chambers of commerce and CBI not shouting how good this is. When this bunch of so called business leaders met dithering May did they pass on the good news?

        Come on JR, where are the ministers and junior ministers in promoting this good news. How about the useless Khan where is he tonpromote the goods news in London.

        Oh, I forgot they are still trying to scare us about a cliff edge somewhere. Or are they worried about mass immigration coming from Italy, the ECB on the verge of more catostrophic intervention, once more, reports in Germany how the press colluded to suppress Merkel’s mass immigration labelling anyone who spoke out as racist! Sounds familiar. Not a mention by those overpaid staff at the BBC.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      As examples of what dross they do deliver then today I flew over perhaps 50 offshore wind turbines there due to large taxpayer rent seeking subsidies and market rigging. Then I am delayed at an over crowded Gatwick desperately needing anther runway, then further delayed on the M25. I assume the 25 refers to the average speed you might get on a clear day lucky!

  2. agricola
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Outside their political hothouse it is quite reasonable to ask whether all ministers are capable of running a market stall, never mind a ministry of the state. Look for what they haver run with great success in their pre political days, if they ever had any.

    • Hope
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      They do not even know their brief in detail. that is why civil servants steer them in the direction they want and use ministers as mouth pieces. Up until now all was fine because it waved through the EU to implement. The question should be” do ministers have the brains to think, plan and implement strategy and policy independently of Brussels?

      • Hope
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        Look at the way May dismissed the idea of Rees- Mogg being a minister. Disgraceful considering the dullards in a office. Where is Jenkins, Patterson, du can-Smith, Leadsom ina senior role Etc.

        No we hVe a failed HS in the form of arudd still no change to make us safe. Truss forbidding prisons to use the word punishment, Grayling implementing HS2 and Falln with two aircraft carriers without Planes! Tossers.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      I think ministers listen to their bureaucrats, lawyers, there departments, vested interests and then split the difference. So it is nearly always an agenda against the public interests. Look at may and her idiotic Taylor employment report insanity.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink


  3. Mark B
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Looking after the Public Purse and making sure that which the State does, does to the best of its ability is all we ask. It is also the job of parliament to scrutinise to ensure that the aforementioned is being carried out.

    Slightly off topic.

    I see the BBC is in a bit of hot water over pay. The narrative, an incorrect one in my opinion, is over the different rates of pay between men and women. To me the story should be about the fact that, irrespective of who gets what and how much, are these people actually worth what they get for what they do ? In a commercial competitive industry this would not be an issue but, since the BBC gets pretty much what it wants through force of law, it can afford to do this.

    I mention this as part of today’s topic because our kind host has made reference in the past about the need for pay to reflect productivity in the Public Sector. The BBC has one foot each in both camps and I think it has enjoyed for far too long this cosy arrangement with the subsequent results we see. It is my view that both Local and National Government is much the same, and it is the duty of both government and parliament to get the best for the tax payer.

    Thoughts ?

    • rose
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      I agree the sex of the presenters and announcers is neither here nor there: it is their intelligence and knowledge that count. On the subject of diversity, it is diversity of opinion we want, not biological.

      On the question of unfairness between the sexes and races I would say just wait a few decades. The way things are going, men of European descent will be a minority in the workplace; then it will be too late to redress.

      The promotion in the Supreme Court today looked supiciously like appeasement in the wake of the BBC furore over what you rightly say were the wrong aspects of the revelations.

      • rose
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        PS if the Today Programme were appointing on merit they would not have sacked Edward Stourton for being too educated and from the wrong family. He was the only one there who was any good at the job and you mostly couldn’t tell what his personal opinions were.

  4. alan jutson
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    The one problem with your solution John is the capability of some of those who are in positions of power.

    Give the rise in the number of so called lifetime political professionals (from School to cabinet), who have had absolutely no commercial or business experience for any part of their life, but who concentrate on how to play with words and promote a soundbite, is it any wonder they do not pick the low hanging fruit, because they do not even recognise that it even exists.

    Too many people in senior positions simply failing to take control, because they spend most of their time hiding from making decisions, and covering their own backsides.

    Such a shame when so many backbenchers have the very experience you outline, but who seem to be ignored.

    • Hope
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Nor a fair share of leavers, this is what we voted for whether man or woman. We did not vote for a remaining cabinet!

  5. eeyore
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    A depressing view from the inside. I wonder how many Ministers or Shadows can read a balance sheet. But spending is easy; if they had previous experience of making they might value the skill more highly.

    I understand that all new MPs receive media training. It would surely be helpful if parties also offered some basic financial instruction to those who feel deficient.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Media training – is this what prevents them ever saying anything beyond the blindingly self obvious, tells them how to never answer a question and turns them all into brainless Maybots?

      • Hope
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        Dress code advice would help as well.

  6. Iain Gill
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Same is true of much of the public sector. Many senior police officers spend more time dealing with the press and politicians than any real engagement with whats happening on the streets. Many police forces do not operate “without fear or favour” for instance often being far too closely tied to questionable practises from local councils and their offshoots like supposed road safety partnerships which often operate very dodgy practises. Very little substance.
    Sadly its also true in big business, with many of our leading companies making headway despite not because of the senior levels.
    We could learn a lot from other countries.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 6:27 am | Permalink

      To say nothing of the NHS constantly putting out press releases “lessons will be learnt, this will not happen again” etc etc, when the same rotten practises, often hidden rationing, corruption of lists, and so on are all through the NHS like the word “brighton” on a stick of rock

  7. Bryan Harris
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    JR – Why are you no longer a part of the ministerial team? Doesn’t Ms May know that she needs sensible people like you up close?

    You have made clear two ways that labour have failed us, constantly:

    1. they put excessive ministerial time into managing the media instead of doing their jobs;

    2. they allow money to be wasted because they ignore the fact that they are supposed to work within budgets and ensure our taxes are used effectively.

    It is time the Conservatives got better about using the media to show how much more cost effective they are than labour is in running the economy.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      They think their role is just to be a spokesperson and manage the media. What is actually mended is a good sense of direction and efficient management. Something that delivers value to the public, this is never, ever delivered.

    • William Long
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      But first they need to demonstrate that they really are more effective as it does not seem to me that you can any longer take that as read.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      It is time the Conservatives got better about using the media to show how much more cost effective they are than labour is in running the economy.

      Now that, as they say, made me laugh out loud. Your beloved conservatives have DOUBLED the debt! Another big deficit in June. When, oh WHEN, are they going to balance the books? Government spending UP. Some departmental spending DOWN. Where is all the money being spent? Still being spent like a drunken sailor in port for the first time in months.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted July 22, 2017 at 6:27 am | Permalink

        There wouldn’t have been a debt if your beloved labour party had not wasted billions while in power….

        As for you pathetic analysis of why it is increasing is down to that fight between balancing the books and keeping the country running, which labour keeps shouting about ….If labour spent less time on stirring up hatred and deliberately lying about the economy we’d all be better off… In fact, who needs labour, they are nothing but violent protesters that want to ruin anything good.

  8. formula57
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    It is alarming and disappointing that the Government might need telling that it must “hone its skills and use its Ministers to raise the game of the bodies they supervise” but after the clear and sustained failure of the Coalition to manage the Environment Agency so it was surprised when bad policy and practise saw Somerset and elsewhere flood, it is perhaps prudent to state the case.

    (Incidentally, I commend your Mr. McFarland for being so ready for the next election by his disclosure on the right hand side of this page. The sort of proactivity that needs to be exhibited by ministers of state no doubt.)

  9. Ian Wragg
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Perhaps if we had a real bonfire of the quangos ministers would up their game and actually start earning their salaries.
    HS2 is a classic example £3.5 billion spent to date and not a single clod of earth moved.
    Dozens of consultants and PR firms troughing public money.
    How much will Hinckley Point cost us eventually.

  10. Angela
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    In the interests of “higher productivity” in the public sector, as a teacher with my red pen poised, it’s “ministers’ role” John, or ” minister’s” if you are referring to just one, you have a missing apostrophe!

    In all seriousness at ground level, albeit at the end of term I do not see how in education teachers can have higher productivity- we are exhausted. From where I’m standing the money that gets to schools is being spent carefully. There are no more cuts to be made, yet the 1.5 billion announced this week is just money being shuffled around. Perhaps junior ministers could more usefully start by supporting the workers in the public sector more obviously, rather than criticising teachers, nurses and our excellent public services. The chancellor’s message this week that these people are “overpaid” is insulting, incorrect and has done much harm to morale, which ironically is key to productivity.

  11. Richard1
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    On the subject of expensive quangos we need a debate on whether it’s really right to have public sector employees paid £1m and more financed by a poll tax which people must pay on pain of prison. All the license fees in our local town just about pay for Gary lineker, who uses his platform to promulgate his banal leftist views. Do these BBC panjandrums also get a pension linked to these salaries?

    We need transparency also on those being paid behind the veil of a company – John Whittingdale should turn his hand to forcing this disclosure also.

    I think the BBC should move to a subscription model. It would be greatly strengthened by this and could then pay what it likes.

  12. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    I live under a Parish Council which seems to be virtually powerless. Then there is the Town Council which deals with trivia and fields local complaints. The local government seems to be done by the District Council which is under the County Council. Then there is the New Mayor of several Counties.
    The cost? They all take their cut – and it has recently gone up. They also work under the National Parliament which, until 30th March 2019, is heavily influenced by the EU.
    Am I allowed to ask whether some really radical pruning might take place? Business rates mean that there are a lot of empty shops. The bin collection has been reduced by a third. Pot holes are not mended quickly. Art Galleries are closed. Police have all but disappeared leaving men urinating in the streets (honestly) as the toilets are now charged for. Millions of pounds are spent on feasibility studies for the non existent railway.
    Standards drop, pay increases radically for the privileged Councillors and fewer and fewer people feel proud of their town.
    Such is local government.

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 22, 2017 at 6:47 am | Permalink


      Agree Local Councils seem to be very inefficient, and in many cases their staff seem unable to make simple decisions.

      Afraid they just appear now to be more interested in collecting money where they can (Council tax, car park fees/enforcement, section 106 agreements, social care payments and the like) gaining grants from Central Government, distributing Benefits payments.

      Maintaining roads, pavements, street lights, grass cutting, street sweeping, sucking out drains, lopping trees and clearing ditches seem to be things of the past.

  13. JoolsB
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    “Before you can communicate as a Minister you need to have satisfied yourself about the policies, and played your part in ensuring good delivery of service.”

    This is why at the very least we need a Minister of State for England so that a) England is getting a fair deal out of this so called union and b) to stop UK Governments of all colours, including this Tory one, from seeing England as nothing more than a milch cow.

    England is the only net contributor and yet is the only net loser. It is an insult to the English that the smaller nations not only have their own parliaments, their own First Ministers but also a Secretary of State in the UK Government when England has nothing and it is utterly indefensible that whilst Scotland & Wales’s representatives can decide their countries are exempt from many of the UK Government’s austerity measures, there is no-one to do the same for England. The dementia tax would only have applied to England and now we hear tuition fees in England are about to rise to £9,250 whilst English taxes are still providing them free in Scotland and heavily subsidised in Wales & NI and the UK Government is getting away with this discrimination against the English because there is no-one, absolutely no-one batting for England let alone standing up for it’s interests. Disgraceful.

  14. Kenneth
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    I have personally witnessed scandalous waste of public money in the public sector.

    In my case it was local government where staff were being encouraged by management to take their sick pay “entitlement” as a holiday (not only wasteful but corrupt).

    I also witnessed a situation where a patient was left in a hospital for 2 weeks simply because a consultant for on holiday and they were awaiting his return before agreeing his discharge. The consultant agreed that the patient could have probably gone home much earlier.

    These are personal experiences and if replicated elsewhere, would be costing us taxpayers a large amount of money.

    Ministers need to sort out this waste and the last thing we should be doing is falling for the BBC campaign to throw even more money at the public sector only to see it wasted.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      Inside the MOD is hilarious. Mostly people are hired because of who they know, regardless of whether they have appropriate skills and background or not. The numbers of ex forces people on projects they are completely unqualified for is ridiculous. And their idea that having run an artillery regiment, for example, is somehow a qualification for, for instance, running a software project is stupid in the extreme. The service the front line get from the rest is terrible, really terrible. And yet no politician is prepared to take on the obvious. Anyone with half a clue can see the senior layers of the army, RAF, and navy have lots of duplication and could be culled and rolled into one mega service, and that most of the back office needs professionalising to people vaguely qualified for the job, and so on.

      • Mitchel
        Posted July 22, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        Isabel Oakeshott and Lord Ashcroft are currently researching a book on how our defence budget is spent.I’m sure it will prove very embarrassing reading for the government.

        I must say I thought we had hit peak defence duffer with Geoff “Buff”Hoon and Bob Ainsworth but Fallon is in a league of his own!

  15. Chris S
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Even middle ranking and senior ministers have some learning to do. Given the changed political landscape, it should be obvious that the Conservative party needs to keep every vote they currently have and make every effort to win back all those that Mrs May managed so successfully to p**s off during her disastrous 2017 election campaign.

    Yet this very week David Gauke proved that the Government has learned absolutely nothing from that near-defeat.

    What possible reason was there for his deciding to announce at this time the intention to make middle aged voters wait one year longer for their state pension ? I suppose we should be pleased that they didn’t put that in the manifesto otherwise Corbyn and Sturgeon might have been sitting round the cabinet table.

    If that isn’t a vision that instills terror in the minds of ministers, I don’t know what would be.

    • stred
      Posted July 22, 2017 at 6:08 am | Permalink

      Another thing to P..s BTL investors off. Our council is impementing licencing HMO style for all rental properties in the city. The fee will be £460 and requirements will include room sizes, kitchen, fire precautions and electrical certification etc etc. It costs around £20k per house to convert to HMO standard plus admin and licence.

      Could the government that said it wanted to reduce regulation have done more to increase it in the most expensive way possible. If you have borrowings get out now and if not, it may be better to pay the CGT and accept the raid, before labour gets in and fixes rents lower than cost.

      Stand by for a house price crash and repossessions.

  16. a-tracy
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    It’s easy to spend money, especially other people’s money.
    The difficult part is winning business to pay for your spending plans as productively as possible and collecting the money, a sale isn’t a sale without payment, we must remember that when we talk of Irish Exports from the UK, it’s got to be new money, not money they’ve borrowed off you to buy the stuff.

  17. bigneil
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Higher productivity? The govt already has two VERY efficient teams. First is the “Throwing cash away to other countries to see no change there at all” – -known as Foreign Aid. Second is the immigration team. Bringing in so many they won’t tell us the truth. Both teams cost us a fortune, while we are over a trillion up the Swanee. Both will be a continual drain – for ever.

    Cuts to Police, crimes up, Council services cut, dementia wards closing etc , BUT plenty of cash for free lives to new arrivals who will sit down, want – and get- everything free. We are being turned into the new arrival’s slaves. So much for the song line – Britain never never never shall be . . . .”

    Are you sure the govt are on our side? – because it REALLY doesn’t look like it.

  18. Bert Young
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    The problem is not just with those who take on a responsibility it is with those who first do not check out whether the proposed candidate has the skills to do the job . Checking first is the basis of any selection ; it is surprising what is revealed .

    A wide ranging intellect does not mean that an individual will be interested in what they are asked to undertake ; human nature has many quirks . After a task has been allocated if the drive and interest is not shown by the leader , the initiative will emerge from below ; such a state leads to all kinds of subterfuge and is bound to cause disruption .

    Leadership has to show that it is on top of detail and strategy ; only with this guidance can success follow .

  19. Eh?
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    It is not possible for the public to know how Ministers function. I find JR’s insights just about the only real insights. Other MPs, if they have blogs and websites, really offer paltry details. They are more like online “Aren’t I Pretty, Vote For Me” leaflets.
    Surely it would be boring TV for most but I would appreciate theatrical enactments of the machinery of state say in a Minsters office, also EU Brexit negotiations. Apart from flicking peas at one another with a fork, how do their dinners go down?

  20. Gareth
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    John, you are 100% right about this. I have long thought that government has become more about presentation and spin than evidence, analysis and policy. The rot started, in my view, with Alastair Campbell, willingly supported by Tony Blair who played Robin to Campbell’s Batman.

    What worries me now is that their success with it means presentation has become all. That is not government. Government is choosing between difficult policy choices.

  21. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I don’t really care about the role of junior ministers. I do care about the state of the economy and the continuous and terrible deficit figures.

    It strikes me, Mr. Redwood, that whatever the ‘long term plan’ is, it IS NOT working. Government borrowing UP. Budgets for some departments DOWN. Where’s the money going?

    Labour want to borrow even more and give public sector workers a pay rise – as if that will fix EVERYTHING.

    I have the sinking feeling we are being run by incompetent fools.

  22. Terry
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Will this mean a loss of jobs in the Civil Service?
    To produce gains in efficiency within the Private Sector sometimes departments are closed and staff dismissed.
    Can we expect the same for Whitehall and its over-bloated employment levels? Or are the unions too powerful for our elected d Ministers to implement?

  23. Chris
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I am very concerned by the reports in the Press (hope they are not accurate) that Hammond has won his corner and has persuaded Theresa May and team to keep open borders for a considerable time. This is not what we voted for, and there is the huge danger that we will never have proper control of our borders again as there may be another election, and the various threats from various opposition parties may well be carried out. There has, in my mind, to be definitive action with regard to our borders straight away, and not prevarication. It is reported that this was the sweetener to Hammond to get him to agree to leaving the single market and customs union. There was no need to do this, and there are, in my mind, far more competent Chancellors, with true Brexit commitment, waiting in the background who could easily take his place.

    Are you able to offer any reassurance on this, Mr Redwood?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 22, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Apparently not.

      “It was interesting that, in answering my question on whether freedom of movement would continue under an implementation period, that Michael Gove didn’t rule this out. Migration, he argued, would be decided by the needs of the economy.”

      No, under his plan EU migration will NOT be decided by the needs of the economy, just as now it will be determined entirely by the wishes of individual EU citizens who may or may not decide to exercise their immigration rights as granted under the present EU treaties and continuing post-Brexit for some years.

  24. DaveM
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    From the BBC:

    “Mr Gove said: “The prime minister has made clear, as we leave the European Union we will have an implementation period which will ensure that we can continue to have, not just access to Labour, but the economic stability and certainty which business requests. And again that is something around which the government and the cabinet is united.”

    He recognised the importance of “access to high quality labour” for businesses and said any such transitional period should “be driven by a shared pragmatic judgement” involving the best interests of the UK economy and a “smooth” Brexit but which was also “in line with the result that the British people voted for just over a year ago”.

    Immigration to the UK, particularly from poorer EU countries, was seen as a major issue in the referendum campaign.”

    Whatever business wants business gets, eh Mr Redwood? F*** the lot of you – you may not personally be involved in this betrayal, but complicity and refusal to act is just as bad. Bye bye Tory government.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

      Future immigration from the EU is one policy area where we don’t need to agree any implementation period with the EU. We simply decide what policy we want to operate once we have regained control and we put it into effect. If we think it would best to have the inflow tailing off gradually rather than suddenly then we will be able to do that unilaterally; the EU countries will not attempt to prevent their citizens coming to the UK and we will not need to agree anything with them about either the quantity or the quality of migrants. What Gove is suggesting is indeed a betrayal.

    • stred
      Posted July 22, 2017 at 5:43 am | Permalink

      Five years before we are supposed to actually leave and another 2m people from EU/ROW in and Brits leaving, then a General Election. They are ‘united’ in taking the British for fools. The armed forces must be pleased to have been signed up for service in the Commission’s planned expansion? Quislings rule.

  25. APL
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    JR: “The role of junior ministers”

    Is to keep a tame cadre of sheep in the pay of the executive and can be cajoled to vote at the whim of the executive for fear of losing his or her ministerial sinecure.

    The tradition of ministerial by-elections should be reintroduced.

  26. fkc
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I agree wholeheartedly with your views. Accountability should be at the centre of all initiatives. All funds being used are taxpayers money. We would like to know what the money is used for and how successful the project has been.

    • cornishstu
      Posted July 22, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      And have the right if enough people wish it, to veto government spending when we feel our taxes are not being used in our best interests or as more the case simply wasted.

  27. Know-dice
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Another fantasy BBC “Reality Check” –

    They seem to not understand that once triggered Article 50 is irrevocable… The piece seems to suggest that the law is not the key aspect of this, whereas I’m pretty sure that it is…

    • stred
      Posted July 22, 2017 at 5:57 am | Permalink

      If anyone is in doubt about what is going on, watch this BBC video, note the names of the producers and how many. A vast amount of Remain money is being spent in their campaign and they will have no respect for the law or the democratic vote. This was the plan from the start when A50 was written and Cameron welched on his promise followed by legal challenges which reversed the wording of the referendum promises by the government. The majority of the Tory and Labour parties and of course the rest are completely untrustworthy.

  28. Spratt
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    There is a misconception here. The New Labour priority was news management with the imperative being to ensure an announcement a day from No. 10. That meant that the ‘product’ in productivity was a press release stating that x million had been given to this or that initiative rather than a real outcome.

  29. JoeBr
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    This has nothing at all to do with junior ministers..but senior ministers in cabinet including Michael Gove who, it seems, has now turned remoaner overnight. I never thought i’d see the day..what next? Liam fox and Boris? could they be all selling out?

    If this keeps up then i fear we’re heading for a Norway style attachment to the EU where we’ll still be subject to the European courts, and will still have to pay for everything including annual contributions and maybe even minus the current rebate we receive. Migrants will still be allowed in as is presently happening but maybe subject to some fudge or other and at the end of it all we’ll have absolutely no say at all on EU matters.. none at this what we voted for? I have to ask- i just wonder what was said to David Davis yesterday in Brussels to bring this change about? Or else what did Liam fox see in Geneva to cause the road to damascus conversion? But whatever it was? they are now starting to change position and are going against the democratic wishes of the people- or am i missing something?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      According to several reports it appears that Gove is incapable of grasping the simple truth that resumption of complete national control over our immigration policy will in itself say nothing at all about the nature of our immigration policy once we are able to control it.

      “Cabinet ‘pragmatic’ on free movement during Brexit transition, Gove says”

      “Michael Gove has confirmed that the Cabinet supports a transition period after Britain leaves the EU, in which free movement may continue for several years.”

      “But on Friday, speaking at an event in Woking in Surrey, he said: “I think the judgment we need to make about future migration policy should be shaped by what’s in the interests of our economy, consistent with recognising the instruction the British people gave us last year.”

      Mr Gove added that it was important to “honour the referendum result” by controlling immigration but suggested this did not need to happen immediately.”

      If he and others carry on like this it will finish off the Tory party.

  30. A Briton
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Wrong Ministers in there. According to reports the Backbench 22 Committee have more or less said that if the PM needs to ‘let people go’ there are others well qualified to replace them. That’s not EXACTLY what they said but clearly that is what they mean. Hope that there are major changes at Ministerial level in the Autumn as some of the present incumbents are clearly tired and have taken it as far as they can run with it anyway and the Country needs fresh blood in the mix to move it all forward to the next level with purpose, grit and determination. Also how much longer the PM can remain under ‘Managed Performance’ is another challenge to be determined.

    • rose
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      She can remain as long as she keeps the intelligent and patriotic people on the back benches. Can you think of an administration that was formed from the back benches?

      PS I don’t know what has got into Gove but Boris was always a bit wonky on borders wasn’t he?

  31. Freeborn John
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Please don’t talk about junior ministers. The government is making the biggest co** up of brexit possible with the disgraceful Philip Hammond actively batting for Brussels. You need to be focussing on getting him ousted and a real brexit that keeps us out of the EEA for a never-never ‘transitional’ period.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 22, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Freeborn john. Come on now, you surely never truly believed we would actually leave the EU did you?

  32. gyges01
    Posted July 22, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    To what extent do you think the blockchain should be a part of this accountability programme?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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