It’s rather sad to see Lord Strathclyde stepping down from the government. He’s a very charming, likeable and affable character and he’s done good job since he took over the leadership of the Tories in the Lords from Lord Salisbury. Inevitably there will be speculation about why he has gone now and why he didn’t step down at the reshuffle back in September. I’d be surprised if there were any reason other than that given. But it does seem odd that it was announced on the day that the Coalition Mid Term Review is announced.
Strathclyde’s successor, Lord (Jonathan) Hill, is an unlikely choice in some ways. He has the unique distinction of trying and failing to resign from the government in September. Like Strathclyde, he is immensely likeable and he has a wicked sense of humour. He was a key backer of David Davis during the Tory leadership campaign but knows Cameron well from his time working as Political Secretary for John Major. He’s a reformer and has been an impressive School Reform Minister. He has the charm needed to get their Lordships onside and although he’s only been a peer for two and a half years, he has impressed peers on all sides of the House. He’s not someone I would have tipped to get this job. Indeed, I’d have put money on it going to a woman.