As Theresa May officially became Prime Minister, many South West Conservative MPs would have been waiting by their mobiles, hoping to receive the call that would elevate them into government (or hoping to not receive the call that would sack them…)
For a region that after the General Election became a sea of blue, with just Exeter and Bristol represented by Labour, the 51 Conservative MPs must have been feeling confident of having a good showing in government.
So roll on to the official announcement of May’s new government released by Number 10 last week. When all the dust had settled, just one of the South West’s 51 Tory MPs had made it into the Cabinet - Liam Fox, MP for North Somerset, became the Secretary of State for International Trade.
Only a further 7 MPs from the region were distributed as junior ministers in various departments around Whitehall. The South West MPs make up 15% of the Tory party, but just 7% of the Government.
So why the under representation of the South West in government? Cock up or conspiracy?
The chances are it’s a bit of both. With so many other things to balance, where the MP represents was probably the last thing on the mind of the PM’s team as they put names next to jobs.
Remainer or Brexiteer? Left or right? Up and Coming or Old Guard?
Also, as the South West is very much a battleground for the next General Election, the chances are many of the MPs have been told to spend more time in their constituencies shoring up the vote. Not to mention the fact that so many of them have only been an MP for just over a year, after the removal of the Lib Dems from the map last year.
“So what?” I hear you ask. Well, maybe not a lot.
Or maybe, just when it needs it the most, the South West will have a lack of people along the corridors of Whitehall beating the drum for it.
Time will tell on whether or not it will make a difference, but if I was a Conservative MP for a South West seat, or more importantly someone looking to replace one, I’d be watching very closely indeed.