Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Newark MP takes a seat at Government's top table




On a day when the Newark MP takes his seat at the top table of UK politics, the Advertiser takes a look at what is seen as a meteoric rise within Westminster that has seen the 37-year-old Robert Jenrick confirmed as one to watch.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson convened his first cabinet this morning and among the hardline Brexitiers sat around the table is a man who was once a remainer.

Tony Roberts, the chairman of the Newark Conservative Association, says that Mr Jenrick, should he do a good job as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, there could be no end to what he can achieve.

Newly installed Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick leaving Downing Street, London, after meeting the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson. ... Boris Johnson becomes PM ... 24-07-2019 ... London ... UK ... Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. Unique Reference No. 44290843 ... Picture date: Wednesday July 24, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Tories. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. (14282389)
Newly installed Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick leaving Downing Street, London, after meeting the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson. ... Boris Johnson becomes PM ... 24-07-2019 ... London ... UK ... Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. Unique Reference No. 44290843 ... Picture date: Wednesday July 24, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Tories. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. (14282389)

"Politics is a strange old business. You have got to be able to adapt and recognise which way things are going and the way in which they are shaping," said Mr Roberts.

"In my opinion, Robert could achieve any of the great offices of state, maybe even Prime Minister ­— he is young enough. He could potentially be in politics a very, very long time."

The former Newark Mayor and leader of the Newark and Sherwood District Council argues politics has possibly never been so exciting.

FROM left Mark Spencer MP, Boris Johnson and Robert Jenrick MP (14223514)
FROM left Mark Spencer MP, Boris Johnson and Robert Jenrick MP (14223514)

"In my time, I have seen governments rise and fall," he said.
"I have seen the Conservatives at their peaks, and in their troughs, and the same with Labour.

"It is very difficult to predict the long term but if Robert does a good job as secretary of state, the political world is his oyster.

"His rise has been meteoric."

Robert Jenrick was elected to Parliament for the first time in the Newark by-election of 2014.

Tony Roberts (14282936)
Tony Roberts (14282936)

He was made Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury on January 9 of last year ­— his first ministerial role.

Before that he served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, and Michael Gove as Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary.

He was the youngest Minister in Theresa May's Government.

Mr Jenrick came out in support of Boris early in the Conservative leadership election, and reaped the rewards of that.

Side by side. Robert Jenrick and Boris Johnson. (14281720)
Side by side. Robert Jenrick and Boris Johnson. (14281720)

Mr Roberts said: "I am always pleased when an MP is elevated. I think it is good for them and good for the constituency.

"I can't remember when we last had somebody in the Cabinet, it has to be so long ago.

"Robert is a hard-working MP who holds a brief well and is intelligent and confident. I am sure he will make a significant contribution.

"In fact, I know that many of my colleagues at county, district and indeed parish level will be dying to tell him what he needs to do.

"He was only elected in 2014, and moves to Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government from being Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury under Theresa May, which says something about the bloke's ability.

"It is important to have a safe pair of hands when there will be concern about Boris and maybe one or two other members of the Cabinet.

Boris Johnson meets supporters in Bleasby during his leadership campaign, including Mr Jenrick and Sherwood MP Mark Spencer who has been appointed Chief Whip, and exclusively revealed his support for Boris in the Advertiser. (14281714)
Boris Johnson meets supporters in Bleasby during his leadership campaign, including Mr Jenrick and Sherwood MP Mark Spencer who has been appointed Chief Whip, and exclusively revealed his support for Boris in the Advertiser. (14281714)

"Robert has been welcomed by all sides of the Conservative Party because he is trusted, and that is telling.

"He is a political pragmatist who recognises which way the wind is blowing and wants to make a contribution."

Mr Jenrick's election came about in unusual circumstances.

While his two immediate predecessors were good constituency MPs, both had been dogged by controversy. In the case of the late Fiona Jones, who was Labour, it was election expenses, while for decorated former Army officer Patrick Mercer, who had been a Conservative, it was a number of scandals that ultimately led to him resigning.

Mr Roberts said it was important to appoint a candidate who was seen as a safe and steady and untarnished pair of hands, but also somebody capable of achieving, and Cambridge and University of Pennsylvania-educated Mr Jenrick, who has a law background, and a way with people, was that man.

Perhaps a sign of what was to come, the big guns rolled out in support of his campaign, keen to see their man returned at a time when the nation was facing its first by-election test following the emergence of Nigel Farage and UKIP.

Then Prime Minister David Cameron was asked by the Advertiser at the time whether he was, in fact, seeking a holiday home in the constituency because he was visiting so much.

Then Prime Minister David Cameron and Conservative candidate Robert Jenrick visit The Newark Advertiser, in 2014. (14281718)
Then Prime Minister David Cameron and Conservative candidate Robert Jenrick visit The Newark Advertiser, in 2014. (14281718)

On the excitement of today's political landscape and his own view of Boris Johnson, Mr Roberts said: "The politics of today are unarguably exciting.

"Boris has a a slim majority.

"I voted remain in the referendum. I have perhaps weakened that stance since. The country made a decision. We have got to do it with least amount of faffing.

"I think we have got to brace ourself, sadly, to come out on October 31.

"The EU seems unwilling to renegotiate. It is a case of who blinks first, and I don't think this country will be blinking.

"I am not a Boris supporter and never have been. He is not my cup of tea, but he was what this country seems to want ­— a popularist politican.

"There are other examples of this such as Sturgeon in Scotland and Farage ­— what I want to see is gravitas and substance.

"Well, the jury is out. I hope he succeeds. I hope I am proved wrong. But the jury is out."



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More