Chloe Smith tipped to become new minister for keeping UK together in cabinet reshuffle

PUBLISHED: 11:13 12 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:19 12 February 2020

Conservative MP Chloe Smith has been tipped for a promotion. Photograph: Neil Didsbury.

Conservative MP Chloe Smith has been tipped for a promotion. Photograph: Neil Didsbury.

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Cabinet secretary Chloe Smith has been tipped as the new ‘minister for the Union’ in the forthcoming cabinet reshuffle.

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The Telegraph reports that Tory MPs who originally backed Remain, including Smith, Oliver Dowden and Lucy Frazer, will all receive promotions in the reshuffle which is expected tomorrow.

By contrast Theresa Villiers and Andrea Leadsom are likely to lose their positions, leaving home secretary Priti Patel the only cabinet member who consistently voted against Theresa May's Brexit deal.

Smith looks set to take on the duty as part of an "expanded role" and will be looking after the United Kingdom at a time when the future of the union remains in doubt.

Governments in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all voted against the government's Brexit deal, and elections in both Scotland and Northern Ireland have produced election results which could lead to fresh referendums.

Boris Johnson appointed himself the minister for the union when he created the role after arriving at 10 Downing Street, but went on to receive frosty receptions in different corners of the UK he visited.

Last week Smith defended the government excluding Scottish media from Downing Street press briefings, arguing "there are national broadcasters here who deal with all parts of this country".

"This is not a prime minister who avoids scrutiny," she told unimpressed SNP MPs.

One of Smith's first jobs would be to oversee a new £5 million advertising campaign which will involve the government attempting to "love-bomb" the Scottish people to stay in the UK.

There could also be work focusing on Boris Johnson's much-derided proposals for a new bridge between Ireland and Scotland.

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