Wealden MP loses Cabinet post in shock move

Wealden MP Charles Hendry
Wealden MP Charles Hendry

IN A SURPRISE move, Wealden MP Charles Hendry has lost his job as Energy Minister to be replaced by Conservative MP for South Holland and the Deepings, John Hayes in the Government’s reshuffle.

Mr Hayes was formerly Minister for Skills at the Department for Business.

Charles Hendry was popular in energy circles and managed to secure support from renewable, fossil fuel and nuclear providers and was well regarded across the industry.

He was widely seen as capable and knowledgeable.

Industry experts reacted with surprise and disappointment.

Energy Networks Association chief executive David Smith said: “Charles has made an outstanding contribution to UK energy policy not just in government but in opposition before that.

“His vast knowledge and experience has delivered a balanced and incredibly valuable approach. He leaves very big shoes to fill and will be missed.”

Charles Hendry said: “It has been a great privilege to serve as Energy Minister for two years.

“I am proud to have had the chance to play a part in transforming our energy sector.

“The UK is a more attractive place today for investors than it was two years ago and we have worked to deliver energy security, in a way that is genuinely low-carbon, but constantly looking at the impact on consumers’ bills.

“I am very grateful to the Prime Minister for giving me that opportunity.

“However, I came in to Parliament not to be a Minister, but to be MP for Wealden, which is the greatest privilege and honour in its own right.

“I now look forward to being able to devote my time and energy to looking after the interests of my constituents.”

Born on May 6, 1959 in Cuckfield, West Sussex, Charles Hendry was the son of a stockbroker, educated at Rugby School and the University of Edinburgh where he was awarded a Bachelor of Commerce degree in business studies in 1981.

He worked as account manager with Ogilvy and Mather PR and then for two years as special adviser for successive Secretaries of State for Social Security, John Moore and Tony Newton.

He joined Burson Marsteller in 1990 and was elected to the House of Commons in 1992 for the Derbyshire seat of High Peak where he was defeated in the 1997 General Election by Labour’s Tom Levin.

He was re-elected to Parliament at the 2001 General Election as MP for Wealden, winning with a majority of 13,772.

On his re-election he was appointed an Opposition Whip by William Hague and spokesman on Education and Skills in 2003 under Iain Duncan Smith.

He became vice chairman of the Conservative Party under Michael Howard before serving as a spokesman on trade and industry in early 2005.

He married Sallie Moores in July 1995 and has two sons and two stepchildren.

In 2003 he called for the introduction of first time voter packs to help engage young people in the political process.

In January 2008 he was appointed Vice Chair to the Board of Trustees of the UK Youth Parliament.