LATEST: Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith appointed Chief Whip

Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith has been appointed Chief Whip.
Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith has been appointed Chief Whip.

Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith has been promoted to Chief Whip for the Conservative Party, and appointed to the Privy Council.

The announcement this morning comes after Gavin Williamson, who previously held the post, was promoted to Defence Secretary by Theresa May following Sir Michael Fallon's resignation. Mr Smith's promotion follows his role as Deputy Chief Whip, which has now been filled by Tatton MP Esther McVey.

Julian Smith said: "I am delighted to have been appointed by the Prime Minister as Government Chief Whip. I am also honoured to have been appointed to Her Majesty’s Privy Council.

"I look forward to serving in the Prime Minister’s Cabinet and continuing my work in support of this Government."

The chairman of the Skipton and Ripon Conservatives Association, Coun Bernard Bateman, said the appointment spells exciting news for Julian Smith's constituents.

Mr Bateman told the 'Gazette that by being placed even more firmly at the heart of Westminster life, Mr Smith will have even more opportunities to raise local issues.

Coun Bateman said: "We are certainly very excited about his appointment, it is very well deserved.

"Julian has worked very hard doing things in the House of Commons, locally for his constituency, and for the Conservative Party. He is a very dedicated person and is a person that gets jobs done. We are all delighted for him.

"His original position of Deputy Chief Whip has certainly made a lot of difference to what he has been able to do. He has been able to do even more for his constituents. Now that he has been made Chief Whip, it's an opportunity to pull more strings within government and make sure he gets things done for our area."

Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones said: “I am really pleased for Julian Smith who is an assiduous constituency MP as well as an attentive and well-regarded representative for Skipton and Ripon. The role of Chief Whip has an undeserved reputation following TV dramas.

"In fact, the Whip’s role is invaluable for coordinating business in the House of Commons, working with other parties on Parliamentary issues and also a less well-known pastoral role for Members of Parliament. Having known Julian for nearly ten years now I know that he will excel in his new role.”

Julian Smith was re-elected as MP for Skipton and Ripon at the General Election in June, securing 36,425 votes (62.7%).

His share of the vote increased by 6,177 votes (7.3 per cent) from 30,248 in 2015, but his majority fell by 776.

More on Julian Smith's appointment as it comes.