Daily Mail

Esther will make the Blob tremble

But MP husband of McVey (the new minister for common sense) warns she will have her work cut out in Whitehall

- By Claire Ellicott

THE new ‘ minister for common sense’ will take on the ‘Blob’ who waste public money, her Tory MP husband said yesterday.

Esther McVey, a former GMTV breakfast presenter, was appointed to the Cabinet on Monday and charged with rooting out wokery in the civil service.

In a conciliato­ry gesture to the Right of his party after Suella Braverman was sacked, Rishi Sunak gave the role to the veteran Liverpudli­an ‘blue collar’ Tory who is known for her no-nonsense views.

Her husband Philip Davies described her appointmen­t as a ‘shock all round’ and said she had her work cut out.

He told GB News: ‘There’s an awful lot of stuff – non-common sense that goes on in government. Her job is to do what she can to try and put a stop to some of the nonsense that we see being, bring a bit of common sense back to things.

‘There’s a huge amount of taxpayers’ money wasted on this equality, diversity and inclusion thing, in national government and local government. There’s no doubt she’s got her work cut out, because there’s a huge Blob in there in government who are very keen on all that.’

He added: ‘The idea will be that she’ll be able to work with government department­s to try and bring forward some common sense measures, and no doubt they’ll always be a role for somebody in the Cabinet Office, to squash any ideas that are coming through that are not sensible and common sense.’

Ms McVey, 56, was given the official title of minister without portfolio at the Cabinet Office.

While her exact responsibi­lities have not yet been set out, she has been described as the ‘minister for common sense’.

Announcing the move on Twitter, the Conservati­ve Party said she would ‘stand up for working people’. The new party chairman Richard Holden told Times Radio she was a ‘plain-speaking northerner’ who would ‘represent a part of that broad panoply of opinion that the Conservati­ve Party represent’.

One of Ms McVey’s likely priorities could be cutting the number of diversity and inclusion officers across Whitehall. Last year, she was one of 40 Tory MPs to sign a letter arguing that cutting the posts could save the taxpayer more than £500million and get back a million working days ‘lost’ to diversity training.

The Conservati­ve Way Forward report also claimed the Government was supporting ‘politicall­y motivated’ and ‘ anti- British’ campaigns in a cost to the country of £7billion a year. In recent months, she has railed against ‘vandalism’ by Just Stop Oil protesters and questioned whether the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency was ‘up to the job’ of regulating vaccine safety.

In a column for the Express website last week, the former work and pensions secretary also criticised Sir Mark Rowley for the Met’s handling of pro-Palestinia­n protests in London. Using similar language to Ms Braverman who accused the police of bias towards

Left-wing protesters, she wrote: ‘Once upon a time policing was done without fear or favour, now it seems to be done based on who they fear and who they favour.’

She has previously criticised Covid lockdowns.

In 2019, Ms McVey launched the Blue Collar Conservati­ves, a Rightwing pressure group committed to freedom of speech and tax cuts, with backing from former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith.

She is married to Mr Davies, who is also a Conservati­ve MP, and they have co-presented a weekly political programme on GB News since 2021.

Asked about her role as ‘minister for common sense’, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said that was ‘not her public title’. Pressed on whether her title was ‘ the minister for the war on woke’, the spokesman said: ‘Again, happy to repeat she is the minister without portfolio in the Cabinet Office.’

■ New Environmen­t Secretary Steve Barclay is at the centre of a conflict of interest row

because of his wife’s job. The former health secretary has taken over the environmen­t portfolio from Therese Coffey. But it has emerged that his wife Karen has a senior role at Anglian Water, which has come under fire for sewage spills. She is head of major infrastruc­ture, planning and stakeholde­r engagement.

Earlier this year, Anglian was fined £2.65million after it admitted releasing millions of litres of raw sewage from an Essex water treatment site. The judge said the scale of the fine reflected the fact that the water company was ‘finding itself in court so frequently’.

Anglian is also one of six companies being investigat­ed by the regulator Ofwat for potential illegal dumping of raw sewage.

Tim Farron, rural spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said: ‘I do worry about the possible conflict of interest here for the man charged with forcing the water companies to clean up their act.’

Mr Barclay disclosed his wife’s job on the List of Ministers’ Interests, published in April.

‘That is not her public title’

 ?? ?? Cabinet comeback: Esther McVey yesterday
Cabinet comeback: Esther McVey yesterday

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom