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Exclusive: Nick Herbert is out. Government loses an innovative thinker.

4 September 2012

4:20 PM

4 September 2012

4:20 PM

Nick Herbert’s departure deprives the government of one of its most innovative thinkers. Herbert, who had been double hatting between the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, was the minister who pushed through crime maps and elected Police and Crime Commissioner.

He departs, as Steve Hilton did, in frustration at a lack of support for radicalism. One friend of his points out that Number 10 and CCHQ have done ‘close to f all’ to help on Police and Crime Commissioners with the result that the Conservatives have been left with a set of underwhelming candidates. It also didn’t help that Herbert, as Pauline Neville Jones did, had an extremely tense relationship with Theresa May.


Herbert will not be a disloyal voice on the backbenches. But he is a profound Eurosceptic, one of the founders of Business for Sterling and the first minister to say that a referendum on Britain’s relationship with the EU will be necessary in the near future. Expect to hear Herbert say more about this and the need to reform or leave the European Court of Human Rights in the coming months.

As the co-founder of the Refrom think tank, I’d also expect Herbert to speak up on public service reform and the need to transform the state. Herbert has chafed at the constraints of office. Freed from them, he’ll fast establish himself as one of the most innovative, reformist voices in the Tory party.

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Show comments
  • Diogenes

    You are too kind about Mr H. The PCC innovation is completely crackers, has absolutely zero support anywhere outside the Home Office and in terms of difficulty of implementation versus return on effort it will be viewed in years to come as a massive waste of time and opportunity.

  • david

    Maybe Nick Herbert will speak up one day. I think he should wait to see how his carefully thought out policy on elected PCC fares with the electorate. He might just have to be very careful what innovative, public reforms he advocates.

  • Janet Duncton

    Why on earth is Pickles still in place???????

  • Alan Eastwood

    Positioning himself, quite rightly in my opinion, for the inevitable change of leadership.
    Cameron has made a fool of Greening today and she will get her revenge. Frankly I will wait a couple of months but I do believe this will end in tears.

  • johnfaganwilliams

    Difficult to believe you could dumb down this government but it seems to be true. Not sure Cameron is the man with a plan or even a moderately competent manager. We just seem to be “muddling through” the biggest crisis since WW2. Unsurprisingly this policy isn’t getting great results – and this re-shuffle seems to be designed to produce an even more anodyne group of “leaders” than we’ve suffered up to now.

  • alexsandr

    ‘Freed from them, he’ll fast establish himself as one of the most innovative, reformist voices in the Tory party.’
    or join UKIP