Exciting news is rippling around the Palace of Westminster. MPs huddled outside the Commons chamber have been muttering about it, breaking away in suspicion as strangers approach. The researchers have been chattering about nothing else in the canteens. Wise-owled journalists have been taking careful notes. Now the moment they have all been waiting for has finally arrived. politics.co.uk has unveiled its new editorial board!
A few changes were required from the old line-up of MPs tasked with making sure the website's editorial content remains scrupulously neutral. Alistair Carmichael, our Liberal Democrat representative, was promoted into the deputy chief whip role following the formation of the coalition. This meant, now that he is on the government payroll, it was no longer appropriate for him to continue in the position. So Stephen Williams, who shadowed Peter Mandelson before the general election, has been drafted in to take his place. Stephen is now chair of the party's Treasury backbench committee.
Our former Conservative MP, Nigel Evans, was re-elected as Ribble Valley's MP on May 6th. But he won another election soon afterwards, becoming one of the Commons' three deputy Speakers. Setting party politics aside is part and parcel of this new job, but Nigel has agreed to stay on in a neutral capacity and as a representative of parliament.
Stepping into his Tory shoes is Jason McCartney, who won a close three-way marginal in Colne Valley to take the seat from Labour at the general election. Jason has a background in the media, having worked as a journalist for the BBC and ITV in his native north-west. All that followed a career in the RAF, making his time in politics something like career number three. We're delighted to have him aboard.
That leaves Labour's Barry Sheerman, the erstwhile Huddersfield MP, who has now been an MP for 31 years. His status as a parliamentary heavyweight was confirmed when he emerged as a key critic of Gordon Brown during the ex-prime minister's last months in No 10. His now chairs the Skills Commission for the Policy Connect organisation, which he helped establish.
Much of our business rests on us being politically neutral, so the board do an invaluable job in making sure this continues to remain the case. You can see our official blurb on the editorial board here.