Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Cometh the hour, Cometh the woman !
The promotion of Chipping Barnet’s Member of Parliament Theresa Villiers to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will come as a great delight not only to her but to her many friends and supporters in Barnet and beyond.
Since succeeding the much loved Sir Sydney Chapman as MP in 2005 Theresa has worked hard locally, living in the constituency and turning up at hundreds of local events a year.Many a time she has rushed back on the Northern Line from Westminster for a residents meeting only to jump back on the tube to the House of Commons for a 10pm vote.
I have always considered Theresa a shrewd cookie and a very clever woman. Once elected in 2005 she firmly hitched her wagon to the Leadership campaign of David Cameron whilst some of us hankered for the more traditional approach of David Davis and following his victory she got her reward becoming Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury in Cameron’s first Shadow Cabinet (after only 6 months in the House) where she faced the dreadful bully Ed Balls for whom she quite soon developed a deeply held dislike (rather as Ed Miliband has done). She then became Shadow Transport Secretary where she developed the mistaken policy which has now come back to haunt the Government of opposing expansion of Heathrow and spent endless hours mastering the intricacies of the railway franchising system. Following the General Election of 2010 where she turned Chipping Barnet back into the safe Tory seat it always was prior to 1997, she failed to make the Cabinet due to need to appoint some pesky Liberal Democrats but ended up as Minister of State with Membership of the Privy Council (highly sort after). Dear Sir Sydney Chapman never achieved Privy Council status to his huge disappointment; I think he would have preferred it rather than the Knighthood.
Theresa in Government was lumbered with the highly unpopular (and in my view ludicrous High Speed Rail) and in recent weeks has taken on the bad loser of British Business Sir Richard Branson over the West Coast Rail Franchise.
Presumably with the Security considerations that still exist in the Northern Ireland portfolio Theresa’ bike will have to be put in the garage and the site of her hair flowing in the wind as she pedals around Parliament Square will be a thing of the past .
However a word of warning to Northern Ireland’s Politicians, and of course they have more Politicians per head of the population than any other part of the United Kingdom, Theresa is no pushover with a strength of character more than equal to the likes of Martin McGuiness or Peter Robinson, just ask (the very few) people who have fallen foul of her.
I am sure everyone in Barnet wishes Theresa well as she serves our Nation in this vitally important role