Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The most lightweight Cabinet minister ever?

I see Jeff has picked up on the debate over who might be the Secretary of State for Scotland should the Tories win power in May. I must say I favour Eddie Barnes' logic over Jeff and Malc's - it's highly likely to be David Mundell. For the reason, you need look no further than the jibe that's going to be thrown most frequently at a Tory government north of the border - that they have no mandate to rule. It would hardly help to counter that perception if they proved unable to man the Scotland Office from the directly elected ranks of Scottish Tory MPs. So that would exclude the possibility of parachuting David McLetchie into the Lords, or appointing a Scot who represents an English constituency. Of course, there may be a few more Scottish Tory MPs than just Mundell after the election - but none that would be any better suited for the job.

Which wouldn't be saying much. Indeed, it begs the question - has there ever been a Cabinet minister who has been appointed for reasons other than his own personal attributes to quite the same extent that Mundell is about to be? It's hard to think of any other circumstances in which someone of Mundell's standing would even get close to the Cabinet table. If Cameron wasn't faced with a de facto one-man shortlist for the Secretary of State role, Mundell might even currently be relishing the prospect of becoming a PPS. Unkind?


  1. I agree with you on relection. I heard rumours that Micahel Forsyth would be asked to do the job. But you're right. It would be an admission of complete lack of mandate if he had to use a lord.

    I guess it is the least important cabinet position, given the number of departments now run by the Scottish Government.

    The PPS could probably manage quite well. However, almost unbelievably there is currently a Minister of State for Scotland (some woman, although I can't remember her name... she's certainly made a mark, hasn't she?).

    Cameron will have to fill her job with a rookie, or a lord or an English MP.