Justin Tomlinson, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work was sacked as part of last week’s cabinet reshuffle. He has been replaced by Chloe Smith.
Tomlinson, who few people other than diehard readers of these pages will probably ever have heard of, failed to make much of an impression at the DWP.
His replacement, Chloe Smith, seems unlikely to bring much in the way of support for, or personal knowledge of, the benefits system to her new role.
Wikipedia says that following a comprehensive school education, Smith graduated from York University and joined Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu as a management consultant. Smith took the seat of Norwich North in 2009 from Labour MP Ian Gibson, who resigned as a result of the parliamentary expenses scandal.
‘On 14 October 2011, she was appointed Economic Secretary to the Treasury in a ministerial reshuffle, becoming the youngest minister serving in government at that point. According to The Guardian newspaper Smith was appointed to the role because David Cameron wrongly believed she was a trained accountant’.
Smith’s voting record on benefits is much as you might expect from a Conservative loyalist. According to TheyWorkForYou, Smith:
Consistently voted against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability.
Consistently voted against raising welfare benefits at least in line with prices
Consistently voted for a reduction in spending on welfare benefits
It seems unlikely that Smith will bring anything to her new role other than a determination to spend as little as possible on the disabled claimants for whom she is now a government minister.