EDDISBURY MP Stephen O’Brien was ‘thrilled to bits’ to be asked by David Cameron to become a junior minister.
Mr O’Brien, who lives near Bunbury, was appointed a Minister for State for International Development after receiving a call from the Prime Minister late last Thursday.
Having retained his mostly rural Eddisbury seat by a majority of more than 13,000 votes and also having served as shadow health secretary for four years, Mr O’Brien was tipped to become a health minister.
But as he revealed during an exclusive interview with The Chronicle, many fellow Conservative Party MPs have been made subject to a reshuffle as part of the Prime Minister’s coalition Government.
He said: “As you can see from what is coming out of Number 10, there has been a wholesale reshuffle of ministers accommodating the number of Liberal Democrats which has meant that almost everyone has been bumped around and, in fact, some have been bumped off.
“I am absolutely thrilled to bits to be asked to serve our Prime Minister and as people know from my activities and energies in the past I have always pursued international development issues, not least during my malaria campaigning.”
Mr O’Brien is still involved with the School of Tropical Medicine at Liverpool and the Innovative Vector Control Consortium, which focuses on pesticides, while he remains chairman of his charity, the Malaria Consortium.
As part of his new role he will travel to various countries to ‘get out there and see the reality on the ground’.
He explained: “International Development is a Department of State which has a £6.5bn budget.
“It is focused, on behalf of the British people, to play its part in alleviating poverty, tackling disease and promoting peace and reconstruction for the most vulnerable people in the most challenged countries in the world.”
While relishing his new role in the Government, Mr O’Brien was also quick to repeat reassurances that he would continue to serve the people of Eddisbury.
On Friday, he held a party for Conservative activists and volunteers in Cheshire who helped re-elect him as a Member of Parliament.