Sir George returns to backbenches, and receives a letter from the Prime Minister
4 Sep 2012
Below is the text of the letter Sir George has sent to the Prime Minister, following today's Government reshuffle:

Dear Prime Minister –

I have been fortunate enough to have been a Minister for 16 years under 3 Prime Ministers, and since my time in Cabinet as Secretary of State for Transport in 1997, many talented individuals from our Party have been elected to the House. I believe they should now be given the same chance I had to take on the challenges of government.

I have enormously enjoyed working with you over the last three years. I was surprised and delighted when, just before the last election, you brought me back into your Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Leader of the House, during what was a turbulent time for Parliament; and it has been a privilege to implement in government the policies that we developed then to help restore the reputation and strengthen the effectiveness of the House of Commons.

It has been a pleasure working in government with my Deputy, David Heath, and I look forward to supporting the Coalition Government in the second half of this Parliament.

Best wishes,


Below is the text of a letter Sir George received today, 10 September from the Prime Minister:

Dear Sir George

I wanted to express my gratitude for the service you have given as Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal and, moreover, your longstanding and unparalleled contribution to the Conservative Party.

You have been such a loyal, dedicated and committed colleague over the past two years in Government and, before that, in Opposition. It has been a joy to work with you and you have brought so much to our team.

You took on the role of Leader of the House at an extraordinarily difficult time for Parliament and for MPs and worked tirelessly to restore Parliament’s reputation and sense of purpose, as well as implementing our wider Parliamentary reform agenda and bedding down the reforms of the Wright committee.

Further to this, you have driven through the Government’s legislative agenda with enthusiasm, great tact and panache. In the past two years we have implemented what is by any measure one of the most ambitious and far-reaching packages of legislation any new Government has presented, addressing the significant economic challenges the country is facing and delivering lasting reforms to our public services. This would not have been possible without your skill and drive, and the experience you bring from a long and distinguished career of public service.

It is amazing to consider that your first Front Bench position was in 1976 as an opposition Whip. Since then you have held many significant posts, both in Opposition and in Government, including at HM Treasury and the Department for Transport. But throughout your career, you have – above all – always been a Parliamentary man. Your Chairmanship of the Parliament Standards and Privileges Committee over what were some very difficult years for public trust in politics is of particular note.

I was delighted when you agreed to join my Shadow Cabinet in 2009 as Shadow Leader of the House and remain with us in Government over the past two and a half years. You have left a legacy to be hugely proud of: we not have a Parliament that is more open, transparent and representative of the modern world in which we live. People should be in no doubt about how much of this is down to your efforts over many years.

Finally, I would like to thank you for the loyalty and support you have always given me personally. I have benefited enormously, drawing from your considerable experience and sage advice, and for that I will remain incredibly grateful.

I know you will continue to act as an effective champion for the people of North West Hampshire and I wish you and Aurelia all the very best for the future.

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