Jo Johnson, a Conservative lawmaker, will also be appointed as a Cabinet Office minister, said the spokeswoman, who declined to be named under usual government rules. She said Cameron’s aim is to inject fresh Tory thinking into his coalition government with the Liberal Democrats and that the premier is also creating a Conservative parliamentary advisory board.
Johnson’s role will be to help drive Tory priorities through the government, creating a more targeted approach to policy in the style of the Margaret Thatcher, the 1980s Tory premier who died this month, she said. The move by Cameron is a recognition he needs to get closer to his own party, following a series of parliamentary rebellions on issues such as Europe.
Before entering Parliament in 2010, Johnson was an investment banker at Deutsche Bank AG. He joined the Financial Times as a journalist in 1997. As a lawmaker he chaired a cross-party group on India, now one of Cameron’s targets as a key trading partner.
Jo Johnson’s move into Cameron’s office will throw renewed attention to the rivalry between the premier and the London mayor.
Buoyed by re-election in May last year and the success of the London Olympics in August, the mayor has increasingly been touted by Tory activists as a possible successor to Cameron, whose poll ratings have fallen.
Boris Johnson and Cameron have stopped short of criticizing each other outright. Even so, the mayor, who has rejected some Cameron policies in areas such as welfare, has failed to rule himself out as a future Tory leader.
Members of the advisory board will include Jesse Norman, who led a rebellion of Tory lawmakers opposing an overhaul of the upper chamber of Parliament, the House of Lords, a key Liberal Democrat priority.
Others include George Eustice, a leading euro-skeptic in a party which wants to move further away from European integration and Peter Lilley, who was a minister under former Tory Prime Minister John Major. Former Schools Minister Nick Gibb, Jane Ellison and Paul Uppal also join the group.
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