ASHBOURNE MP, Patrick McLoughlin, has been promoted to Secretary of State for the Department for Transport as part of a cabinet reshuffle, Downing Street announced yesterday.
As the News Telegraph went to press, speculation over Mr McLoughlin’s role, following an earlier announcement that he had been replaced as Chief Whip by Andrew Mitchell, ended when reporters were told he had been promoted to Transport Secretary.
Some political pundits had tipped the MP to take on the role of party chairman, while others were looking at a variety of posts for MPs during the reshuffle.
Television cameras captured Mr McLoughlin looking very pleased as he left Downing Street yesterday, following talks with the Prime Minister, David Cameron, about his new job.
As Secretary for Transport, Mr McLoughlin will be responsible for the Department of Transport, security and will be involved in making decisions about high speed rail developments and controversial plans for Heathrow Airport.
He will replace MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields, Justine Greening, who has been moved to Secretary for International Development.
Mr McLoughlin, 54, who is married with two children, was born in Stafford and worked as a miner in Cannock before moving into local politics in the 1980s.
In 1986, he contested and won the West Derbyshire seat for the Conservatives, following the resignation of Matthew Parris.
In Parliament, Mr McLoughlin served as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Angela Rumbold, the Minister of State at the Department for Education and Science in 1987 before moving to the Department for Trade and Industry and later was appointed to Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1989.
Mr McLoughlin then served in the Department for Transport until 1992, when he was moved by Prime Minister John Major to the Department of Employment.
A year later he moved again to the Department of Trade and Industry.
The Derbyshire MP joined the government whips’ office in 1995 as an assistant, becoming a Lord Commissioner in 1996.
After the Conservative Party’s defeat at the 1997 general election, he stayed in the whips’ office in opposition, becoming the Deputy Chief Whip in 1998.
He was then promoted to Chief Whip by David Cameron in 2005, where he has remained until yesterday.
His role as Chief Whip hit the headlines in December 2010, when a row with Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, was televised.
As the News Telegraph went to press yesterday, Mr McLoughlin’s parliamentary office confirmed new roles had been announced but were unable to contact Mr McLoughlin for comment.