Fantastic facts about five key players in Theresa May’s new-look top team

Written by David Singleton on 9 January 2018 in Diary

It turns out that the PM has promoted a renowned egghead and someone who wanted to ‘overthrow capitalism’.

Theresa May’s new-look Cabinet met for the first time this morning with some notable new faces around the table. Namely Esther McVey, Damian Hinds, Matt Hancock, Claire Perry, Caroline Nokes and Brandon Lewis.

A host of ministers have also been appointed in Whitehall departments and more junior ministerial changes are being made today.

Here are the best facts about five of the newly-promoted top Tories.



David Lidington is a bona fide superbrain

The man picked to take over from Damian Green (but not given the same title) holds the rare distinction of twice captaining a winning team on University Challenge. The cerebral Lidington first led Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, to victory in 1979. Then, in 2002, he captained them in a ‘champion of champions’ tournament. According to a report in The Bucks Herald: “The egghead Tory led his team… to a thumping win over 1968 winners Keele. The huge winning margin of 375-185 left Jeremy Paxman speechless in admiration.”



Brandon Lewis was a radio DJ (with Eric Pickes)

The new Conservative party chairman used to host a local radio show with his chum Eric Pickles. The Eric and Brandon Show was a regular gig on Essex-based Phoenix FM in the noughties, according to The Lowestoft Journal. The paper once reported that the pair “entertained listeners with a monthly mix of interviews of local personalities and music”.



Claire Perry once wanted to ‘overthrow capitalism’

The new climate change minister went to Oxford at the same time as Guardian journalist and green campaigner George Monbiot, who remembers the top Tory as “a firebrand who wanted to nationalise the banks and overthrow capitalism”. Perry went on to be a banker and previously quit as rail minister because she was “fed up justifying how crap our railways are.”



Caroline Nokes boasted about being too pretty for politics

The new immigration minister (and former chief executive of the National Pony Society) took part in a photoshoot for Glamour magazine about the "hottest" parliamentary candidates back in 2005. In the accompanying interview, she declared: "I've been told I'm too pretty to be in politics.” Five years later she was reported to be having an affair with a “toyboy lover”.



Matt Hancock sung happy birthday to himself at Tory conference

The new culture secretary wowed the crowds at Tory conference last year with a high-octane karaoke performance of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now. Moments earlier the former special adviser to George Osborne had taken to the stage to sing: "Happy birthday Matt Hancock, happy birthday to you." Hancock has also described Ed Sheeran’s latest album as “fantastic” and said that Galway Girl is “probably my favourite song from it”.




All pictures by PA Wire/PA Images.

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