Blunkett excluded from key committees

13th June 1997 at 01:00
David Blunkett appears not to be included in the golden circle of ministers selected to sit on the two key economic Cabinet sub-committees.

The Education and Employment secretary will sit on the sub-committee in charge of the Government's Welfare to Work programme but despite Mr Blair's pledge to make education his main priority, Mr Blunkett has not been given a seat on either the economic affairs or public expenditure committee.

His predecessor, Gillian Shephard, was also excluded from the pre-Cabinet public expenditure discussions, but she was a member of John Major's economic and domestic policy Cabinet committee.

That committee is not directly comparable with Mr Blair's economic affairs committee, however.

Mr Blunkett will sit on the Cabinet committee covering devolution and the sub-committee dealing with the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Commons heard this week that Mr Blunkett had appointed two political advisers. They are Conor Ryan, his former researcher and press officer, and Sophie Linden (part-time) also part of his team when Labour was in opposition.

The salary of Professor Michael Barber, head of the standards and effectiveness unit will be paid from public funds.

Professor Barber heads a list of advisers that includes: Tim Brighouse, director of education in Birmingham; Alan Tuckett, director of the National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education; David Reynolds, professor of education, Newcastle University; Pat Petch, chair of the National Governors' Council, and Anita Straker, director of the National Numeracy Project.

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