Congratulations to Mel Stride, the Conservative MP for Central Devon, who has been appointed Leader of the House of Commons, following the resignation of Andrea Leadsom. Stride was previously Paymaster General, and Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

Stride supported Remain during the EU referendum. Of course, Leadsom was prominent in the Vote Leave campaign. So notionally that shifts the balance in the Cabinet away from the Brexiteers. However, at this stage it is hard to believe that May was consciously wishing to be antagonistic in that respect. On the contrary, Stride’s promotion is a classic “safe pair of hands” appointment. His promotion does not come as a surprise to us. We predicted it (along with that of Damian Hinds) back in 2017.

While Stride has not expressed leadership ambitions himself, naturally his endorsement will be sought after by others. There have been conflicting reports as to who he will be supporting. But it has become pretty clear that his allegiances are with Michael Gove. Indeed Stride went so far as to host a dinner in his home for wavering MPs to be wooed by the Gove. Both Stride and Gove are former Presidents of the Oxford Union although not contemporaries – Stride is six years older.

Does promoting Stride mean that May is smiling on Gove? It would seem unlikely to be the focus of her concern at present. But it might indicate that Gove is unlikely to join Leadsom in resigning.

Before joining the Treasury, Stride was a Whip. Prior to that, he was the PPS to John Hayes. Before politics, Stride was in the trade exhibitions business. At one stage he worked in the United States.

Other Ministerial changes announced today are:

  • Jesse Norman MP to be Paymaster General, and Financial Secretary to the Treasury.
  • Michael Ellis MP to be a Minister of State at the Department for Transport.
  • Rebecca Pow MP to be a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.