Harrogate MP Andrew Jones on new business role within government

The Harrogate and Knaresborough MP has dismissed claims that he was demoted in the latest government reshuffle and said he would '˜throw himself' into his new role.

Andrew Jones MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough.
Andrew Jones MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough.

Andrew Jones was moved to Vice Chair for Business Engagement within the Conservative Party HQ during the Prime Minister’s latest reshuffle on January 8.

Mr Jones had previously sat as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, a role which will now be undertaken by Robert Jenrick MP for Newark and Bingham.

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Mr Jones said: “The role hasn’t really existed to date so I’m getting the opportunity to shape what the role does.

“I was offered the role by the Prime Minister and was pleased to accept.

“The idea was to build on my career in business which was 25 years long before my work in Parliament and then working on apprenticeships, in transport and then the Treasury, so ideally placed to work in business.

“It means talking to the party and working with the party and listening to businesses and being a voice for business within the party.

“It will mean developing policies as well for the future and while we are a while off writing party manifestos, business is going to be a really important area when that comes around.”

Mr Jones was one of three junior ministers moved to Vice Chair roles which the national media suggested had been demoted.

But Mr Jones said he didn’t view the reshuffle that way.

He said: “The roles haven’t got a comparable grade so it’s hard to tell. I don’t view it as that, I view it as an important role within the party and quite frankly when the Prime Minister offers you a job you take it.

“I have always enjoyed everything I have done. I didn’t want to leave transport to go to the Treasury and I didn’t want to leave the Treasury for this. But I’m very much looking forward to the new role and I will be throwing myself into it.”

“Business is going to be a really important battle ground over the next election - the vision the parties have for the economy are very different so business is going to be a real area for debate.”

Mr Jones said he wanted businesses to know that the party is one which backs ‘wealth creators’.

He added: “Whether it’s upwards, downwards, sideways it doesn’t matter, there’s a job to do and we need to get on with it.”