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Boris Johnson appoints MP Trudy Harrison as parliamentary private secretary

The Prime Minister has chosen the Cumbrian MP to be his closest Parliament-based aide after promising to ‘repay’ the faith of northern voters.

Copeland MP Trudy Harrison has been appointed parliamentary private secretary to the Prime Minister (Jack Taylor/PA)
Copeland MP Trudy Harrison has been appointed parliamentary private secretary to the Prime Minister (Jack Taylor/PA)

By Patrick Daly, PA Political Correspondent

Boris Johnson has appointed Copeland MP Trudy Harrison as his aide in Parliament.

Ms Harrison said it was “an honour” to be handed the role of parliamentary private secretary (PPS), which will make her one of the closest MPs to the Prime Minister outside of the ministerial ranks.

Conservative Party leader Mr Johnson has chosen a northern MP to be his Commons assistant after speaking of the need to “repay” the trust of voters in constituencies in the North and Midlands who helped put him back into power at the general election.

Ms Harrison, whose seat is home to Sellafield nuclear power station, said in a statement: “Boris and I had a conversation about our shared priorities for the North including, of course, securing a strong nuclear future.

The sense of responsibility is huge but it’s also the greatest opportunity to shape change and influence decisions about the Copeland community I care for and which has so much potential Trudy Harrison

“His commitment to unleashing the potential across the UK inspired my decision to accept.

“To serve the Prime Minister so closely in Parliament is a huge responsibility and an honour and one which I will take incredibly seriously.”

The unpaid PPS role – sometimes known as bag carrier – to the PM will see the Cumbrian MP act as a gateway to Mr Johnson, with appointments and follow-up meetings arranged through the job holder.

They are also meant to be the “eyes and ears” of the PM in the House of Commons and to feed back to Downing Street on the mood and reaction of MPs.

Those occupying the role have often gone on to climb the ministerial ladder and even be promoted to the Cabinet.

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Boris Johnson has promised to ‘repay’ the faith put in him by northern constituencies that voted Tory for the first time at the election (Matt Dunham/PA)

Alec Douglas-Home, having served as PPS to Neville Chamberlain when he was prime minister between 1937 and 1940, would go on to briefly inhabit Number 10 during the 1960s.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who Ms Harrison previously worked for as a parliamentary aide, served as David Cameron’s PPS for three years.

The PPS is often seen sat behind the country’s leader during Prime Minister’s Questions to hand them notes to help them answer tricky questions from MPs.

Ms Copeland is used to the limelight after winning a by-election in February 2017 when Theresa May was Tory leader.

The former council worker went on to hold the seat at the two following general elections.

Before her win, the constituency had been continually held by the Labour Party since its 1983 creation.

The 43-year-old has previously served as PPS to the Ministry of Defence, the Department for Transport and most recently to Mr Williamson.

She added: “The sense of responsibility is huge but it’s also the greatest opportunity to shape change and influence decisions about the Copeland community I care for and which has so much potential.”

PA

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