Redwood fades into the past

3 Feb 00
Conservatives in local government this week defended the sacking of John Redwood, one of the few high-profile members of William Hague's shadow cabinet, claiming he was part of the 'party's past'.

04 February 2000

Archie Norman replaced Redwood, who has twice failed to become party leader, on February 1 as shadow environment spokesman. Tory peer Lord Hanningfield said Redwood's demotion was inevitable.

'John Redwood did not have any future because he's part of the past. Archie Norman is very much the future,' he said.

Despite his surprise demotion, party insiders admitted they would miss Redwood on the front bench. Norman, 45, who subsequently stood down as a director of Railtrack, has only been an MP for three years.

Unaffected by the change is Nigel Waterson. His position as local government spokesman was said to be secure.

Hanningfield said there would be no drastic changes in policy on local government, transport or the regions. Norman is expected to focus on the role of the regional development agencies, whose abolition the Conservatives have called for.

Charterhouse-educated Norman was briefed on party policy on directly elected mayors on February 2. The Tories will continue their call for more options to be given to councils when choosing their new political structures.

The reshuffle also saw Michael Portillo return to the front bench. He replaces Francis Maude as shadow chancellor.


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