Sunday, 10 July 2016
Current energy minister Andrea Leadsom's supporters for her Conservative leadership campaign have rejected the criticism of her political competence - viz "she was the worst minister we've ever had" and "a disaster" as coming from embittered Treasury officials at the time of her brief period as City minister. ( media reports," 4 July ).
I have no personal knowledge of her competence at the Treasury, but I do have some of her present post as junior energy minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, at a bi-annual national nuclear stakeholder forum hosted by her department.
She came armed with a briefing pitched at fairly naïve or ignorant 13 year olds, and proceeded to lecture her audience of around twenty stakeholder representatives of non governmental organizations - some with over forty years experience of the nuclear sector as local residents near to nuclear facilities - with information that was both inaccurate and misleading.
She then attempted to answer detailed questions on her ministerial brief as minister responsible for nuclear policy, but demonstrated a worrying lack of grip on the detailed issues, especially nuclear finance and subsidies, which, considering he background in the City before she was elected to Parliament, she should at least have understood.
If this is the impression she gives in her two junior ministerial posts to date, in which she has had the opportunity to get to grips with a proscribed departmental policy agenda, what prospects are there of her mastering policy issues across the whole of Government if she were Prime Minister?
I am not optimistic.