DERBYSHIRE Dales MP Patrick McLoughlin is speeding his way into a new government position following the announcement that he is replacing Justine Greening as the Transport Secretary.
After stepping down as Chief Whip for the Conservative Party earlier today, Mr McLoughlin‘s new role will see him face some tough decisions in the coming months.
Such issues Mr McLoughlin inherits from the former Transport Secretary are the Heathrow expansion proposals and the £32 billion London to Birmingham HS2 high-speed rail scheme.
Patrick McLoughlin said: “Me and David Cameron talked through things a little while ago and I’m very happy with the changes that have been made.”
Mr McLoughlin will also have to deal with a controversial West Coast main line franchise decision which has prompted defeated bidder Richard Branson to take legal action.
Mr McLoughlin said: “I’m very positive about the changes – but you never know what’s going to happen in politics.”
On Monday night rumours were confirmed that International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell would be replacing Mr McLoughlin as Chief Whip – a position that carries the role of persuading MPs to attend debates and vote in line with the party.
Mr McLoughlin said: “I’ve been in the Whip’s office for a very long time now and have been Chief Whip for seven years, so I think it’s high time to have a change.”
While the 54-year-old will have a lot on his plate in his new role, McLoughlin added that he is still dedicated to serving the Derbyshire Dales and is ‘excited’ about the future.
Edwina Curry, former Conservative MP and Derbyshire resident, said: “I think it’s quite exciting and a great opportunity for Patrick.
“He’s got some big decisions to make, but he’s very shrewd and of good Derbyshire characteristic.”
The reshuffle – which is the first major restructuring since the coalition government came to power in 2010 – forms part of the Prime Minister’s bid to relaunch the Coalition and restore confidence in government.
Other changes meant that Health Secretary Andrew Lansley had been demoted to Leader of the Commons and Ken Clarke is stepping down as Justice Secretary.