Wales Office blunder gives Heseltine old job back

Alun Cairns and Lord Heseltine Image copyright Wales Office
Image caption 'I'm delighted that Lord Heseltine has offered to support...' - Alun Cairns's letter

An MP has described it as the fastest comeback in political history. Lord Heseltine, who was recently sacked as a government adviser - is back working as a government adviser. Well, according to the secretary of state for Wales he is.

Alun Cairns wrote to MPs on March 14 to say he was "delighted" that the Swansea-born former deputy prime minister would use his "expertise" to support a £1.3bn investment deal for Swansea and south-west Wales.

Lord Heseltine lost his (unpaid) post advising on the Swansea Bay Region City Deal a week earlier when he voted against the government on triggering Brexit in the House of Lords.

But in a letter sent to Welsh MPs, Mr Cairns said he was "delighted" that Lord Heseltine's expertise would support what he said was "a once in a lifetime opportunity" to transform the local area.

He wrote: "We have a good plan for the region, but we now need to work together to make it a great plan. I'm therefore delighted that Lord Heseltine has offered to support the final stages of the deal.

Image copyright Wales Office
Image caption Alun Cairns's letter of praise for Lord Heseltine.

"I am of course conscious of the timescales involved and I am keen that we conclude this deal as soon as possible. I am confident that with a small amount of work, and the expertise of Lord Heseltine, we will soon be in a position to make an agreement on the deal."

Labour MP Ian Lucas said it was "the fastest comeback in political history". But it appears talk of a comeback may be premature. The Wales Office admits the letter was sent in error. Mr Cairns is sending an updated version to MPs.

Related Topics