Frustrated Tory shadow quits to spend time with his family

August 2, 2002

Shadow further and higher education minister Alistair Burt resigned this week, expressing discomfort, regrets and frustration after less than a year in the job.

Mr Burt told The THES he resigned the post to spend more time with his two children, aged 14 and 16, before they left home.

Mr Burt, a former social security minister in the Major government, is replaced by his immediate predeccessor in the shadow higher education post, Tim Boswell. Damian Green remains shadow education secretary.

Mr Burt, who lost his Bury North seat in the 1997 election, said that when he won North East Bedfordshire in 2001, he would have liked to sit on the back benches in order to acquaint himself with his new constituency.

But he said: "Having been a strong supporter of Ken Clarke during the leadership contest what I wanted to say was 'no' but needs must. I have a sense of regret and I do feel uncomfortable. I am well aware of the the size of the task that faces the Conservative Party and it is enormous.

"Tim and Damian are extremely able politicians and I will continue to feed into the policy process when and where I can."

Mr Boswell, who moves from shadow work and pensions minister, told The THES : "I was moved last year to accommodate the leader's reshuffle and now I am back where I feel most content."


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