Update: Sir George Young to replace Alan Duncan as shadow Commons leader
Tory leader David Cameron has announced that Sir George Young, a former Speaker candidate, will replace Alan Duncan in the shadow cabinet.
Duncan, who is openly gay, was sacked from his role in the shadow cabinet as shadow leader of the House of Commons. He will now take up a more junior post as shadow justice minister.
Young, who was transport secretary from 1995-1997, has more than 35 years of experience in parliament.
The demotion comes after Duncan was secretly filmed complaining that MPs live on rations and are “treated like sh*t”. This came after he was forced to apologise and pay back nearly £4,000 he claimed for gardening costs.
Cameron did not immediately sack Duncan after the remarks were publicised in early August but told reporters this morning he had “had time to think about” whether he had “the right people in the right positions as a strong opposition and as an alternative government”.
He added: “And I think on that basis I came to the decision it was right – and Alan agreed actually – that it was right for him to move from that job to another job, outside the shadow cabinet but an important job.
“And it was right to put a new person to take the issues of parliamentary reform, reform of expenses, pay and pensions – all of those issues- through our parliament, it made sense to have a new person in place.”
Cameron said Young would bring “great talent, depth and experience” to the role.
In a statement released last night, Duncan said: “This is a sensible decision. You have to be realistic about how difficult the expenses issue has been. What matters most is winning the election and David Cameron becoming the prime minister. I am very happy to get stuck into another job.”
He has put his foot in it a number of times recently. In April, he joked that he wanted to kill Miss California, Carrie Prejean, on Have I Got News For You after she publicly disagreed with gay marriage.
On the same show, he mocked Jacqui Smith for claiming for her husband’s porn films and subsequently had to apologise for his own expenses claims.
Alan Duncan was the first openly gay Conservative MP and was the first Conservative MP to have a civil partnership.