Another hot potato for Penrith MP

Date: Tuesday 7th May 2019

PENRITH and the Border MP Rory Stewart’s elevation to the cabinet as Secretary of State for International Development puts him at the forefront of one of the hottest political issues of the moment.

There have been questions over why Mr Stewart has had to wait until now before achieving high office after occupying a number of ministerial positions, some of which have put him firmly in the spotlight.

He was, for instance, asked to serve as floods minister in the aftermath of the devastation wreaked by Storm Desmond in 2015 and latterly, as prisons minister, has been tasked with reducing violence in jails, in particular against officers who work in them.

Now he has responsibility for the distribution of the UK’s aid budget, the amount of which causes controversy on its own, and tackling everything from the challenges of global warming to how this country responds to catastrophes around the world.

Mr Stewart says radical steps must be taken to protect the environment and that Britain cannot save the planet on its own.

Now he is in prime position to help shape a global response to the issues that have brought protesters out on the streets of London and seen schoolchildren going on “strike” in many countries.

He has also announced that he intends to contest the leadership of the Conservative Party — on a centre ground platform — after Theresa May stands down.

These are gripping times in politics, and there is an added interest for Penrith and the Border constituents in that their high-profile MP might be about to play a large part in shaping the country’s future.