Welwyn Hatfield MP says transport minister job if Boris wins is 'pure speculation'

PUBLISHED: 16:48 06 July 2019

Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden and Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps, pictured with Boris Johnson's brother Jo Johnson, have been touted for top jobs. Picture: Oliver Dowden's office

Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden and Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps, pictured with Boris Johnson's brother Jo Johnson, have been touted for top jobs. Picture: Oliver Dowden's office

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Welwyn Hatfield's MP has dismissed claims he is set for a top ministerial position if Boris Johnson wins the Conservative leadership race as "pure speculation".

Both Grant Shapps and his Hertsmere colleague, MP Oliver Dowden, are seen to fill major roles in the government if Mr Johnson wins - according to the Telegraph.

The Sunday Telegraph is reporting that Minister for Implementation Mr Dowden is reputed to be "heading up" Mr Johnson's transition team - alongside chairman of Homes England Sir Eddie Lister and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

It is also claimed he could stay in a ministerial position, if Conservative Party members - who total 160,000 - choose Mr Johnson over Jeremy Hunt.

This paper approached Mr Dowden for comment, but he declined.

The Telegraph is also reporting that Mr Shapps could become transport minister under Mr Johnson, although the Welwyn Hatfield MP has told the Welwyn Hatfield Times that he thinks "it must be pure speculation".

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"It's certainly not a conversation I've had with Boris and he won't be handing out jobs without having won the leadership itself as yet," he said.

"Like the rest of the country, I am looking forward to the leadership question being settled.

"We will then be able to move forward from Brexit, unite the country, and defeat an extreme Marxist ideology that impoverishes the most vulnerable citizens wherever it has been tried around the world."

The Guardian has also reported that Mr Shapps has played a "major role" in Mr Johnson's team, meaning he is likely to get a good position if the former London mayor wins.

Mr Shapps created a spreadsheet, according to the Guardian, on how MPs were to vote and what might swing them over to 'Back Boris'.

Both MPs confirmed to the Welwyn Hatfield Times, when MPs were voting in the Tory leadership race, that they are backing the former mayor.

Paddy Power has Mr Johnson becoming the next prime minister odds on 1/12, while fellow contender Jeremy Hunt is 7/1.

Ballot papers are being sent to Conservative members by today, with the winner to be annouced on July 23.

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