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Paterson: I'd accept Government job

Published 10/05/2015

Former environment secretary Owen Paterson said he would be happy to rejoin David Cameron's Government
Former environment secretary Owen Paterson said he would be happy to rejoin David Cameron's Government

Right winger Owen Paterson has said he would be happy to rejoin David Cameron's Government, insisting the whole party wishes the new administration to succeed.

Mr Paterson, who was dumped as environment secretary in a reshuffle last year, told Sky News Mr Cameron had a "massive mandate".

With a slender majority the Prime Minister is thought vulnerable to the eurosceptic right wing of his party who rallied rebels to defeat the coalition in Mr Cameron's first term.

Mr Paterson said: "The first thing to state is this is a remarkable victory, completely confounding virtually the whole political establishment, the pollsters and the press and it's a real victory for Conservatism.

"What we ought to do is push on this government, make sure there is a broad spread across the ministries. It's great we can get really vital ministries back like energy where we have frankly got a disastrous long-term policy led by the Liberal Democrats."

Asked if he would accept a job, Mr Paterson said: "That's entirely down to the Prime Minister who is making his choices as we speak.

"Obviously, yes, we all would. We want this government to succeed.

"At last we have got rid of the ball and chain of the Liberal Democrats, we can crack on with a really positive, common sense programme."

Mr Paterson said he believed Britain's relationship with Europe should centre on the market and not on the political or judicial aspects.

He added: "We wish the Prime Minister well (on renegotiation). Don't forget the 27 partners will have seen this, they have seen a very resounding statement by the British people to back the Prime Minister's programme, he goes there with a real mandate.

"We have to give him the time and space to deliver. There is very broad agreement across the Tory party, there is broad agreement with small c conservatives who have been completely ignored by the metropolitan media and the pollsters and spoke up.

"They have broad agreement for moving towards an arrangement where we have the benefits of the single market but not the political and judicial arrangements.

"We have to give the Prime Minister, with his massive mandate, the very best shot to deliver."

Mr Paterson highlighted boundary changes and English votes for English laws as key domestic priorities.

And he said tax-raising powers should be devolved to Holyrood, adding: "The Scots cannot treat England as some piggy bank which can be raided."

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