Nick Brown at agriculture a reward for arm-twisting?

27 July 1998

Nick Brown at agriculture — a reward for ‘arm-twisting’?

By FWi staff

THE Governments chief whip, Nick Brown, has been promoted to agriculture minister in Labours first Cabinet reshuffle since taking office.

Mr Browns appointment is seen as a reward for his “arm-twisting” of MPs during the Governments first year in office.

Nick Brown is a leading Blairite and the Prime Minister was keen to have him in the Cabinet. But todays announcement surprised some commentators.

Nick Brown is known to have annoyed Tony Blair by co-operating on a biography of his namesake, Chancellor Gordon Brown. The book, released earlier this year, detailed the Chancellors continued resentment at losing out on the leadership of the Labour Party in 1994.

But the Prime Minister is reported to be pleased by Mr Browns handling of Labours first sleaze scandal in which the MP for Glasgow Govan, Mohammed Sawar, was accused of bribing a fellow candidate during last years election.

Meanwhile, outgoing agriculture minister Jack Cunningham has won a place at the heart of Government.

After a year of heavy criticism for his handling of the beef-on-the-bone crisis, Dr Cunningham becomes the Governments chief co-ordinator and spokesman.

Dr Cunningham will now be responsible for ensuring the Governments agenda is implemented by all Whitehall departments, and he has been given a brief to cover all policy areas.

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