New loan charge minister Jesse Norman toys with Tory leadership bid

The new Treasury minister inundated with requests to review Loan Charge 2019 has raised the prospect of running for the Conservative Party leadership.

In a series of interviews, Jesse Norman MP said he was ‘consulting’ with his Hereford and South Herefordshire constituents on potentially joining the race to succeed Theresa May.

Describing that race as “crowded”, Mr Norman said he would also be consulting with himself, after tweeting that he is being “asked a lot” to run for the Tory leadership.

But those hoping the 56-year-old will bring some straight-talking to his role at the Treasury, where his predecessor was oft-criticised for misleading statements, might be disappointed.

Despite his 30 or so subsequent Tweets, a TV interview and a Q&A on Radio 4, the Tory MP declined to directly answer the question of whether he wants to stand as party leader.

Other praised his contemplation, which the former director of Barclays said was necessary due to many considerations, such as the type of campaign that ought to be run and its aims.

A believer of ‘Compassionate Conservatism,’ Mr Norman said campaigning would necessitate him opening up about his background and qualifications, which include a PhD in Philosophy.

In an online post about the leadership of the Conservatives, he stated yesterday: “I have never campaigned negatively, and I refuse to be drawn into the anger and hostility of the wider Brexit debate.

“Politics today is dying for lack of friendliness, warmth and decency. Everyone deserves to be heard, calmly, respectfully and with moderation.”

The latter will reassure loan charge lobbyists, who say chancellor Philip Hammond and Mr Norman’s predecessor Mel Stride MP have neglected to listen to the issues affecting contractors caught by the charge.

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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