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MP handed royal promotion
10:30am Monday 6th October 2008 in News
Watford MP Claire Ward has been promoted, following Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Government reshuffle.
Formerly a senior Government whip, as Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury, Ms Ward has been handed a role within the Whips Office that will bring her into regular contact with the Queen.
As Vice Chamberlain of Her Majesty's Household, Ms Ward will act as an official representative to Buckingham Palace, writing daily to the Queen to update her on the latest business at Westminster. Her new role will also see her help push Government legislation through the House of Commons, while maintaining unity among her fellow Labour MPs.
Ceremonial duties include accompanying the Queen and Royal Household at events such as the annual garden party at Buckingham Palace. Part of Ms Ward's new job, dating back several centuries, requires her to be held "captive" at Buckingham Palace when the Queen drives in procession to Westminster for the State opening of Parliament, which is set to take place on December 3.
Ms Ward is now the most senior woman in the Whips Office and her promotion to Vice Chamberlain makes her part of the management team with the Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip.
Ms Ward also follows in the footsteps of a former Watford MP, Tristan Garel-Jones, who held a similar role under Margaret Thatcher.
Ms Ward said: "This is not something that I had anticipated but the next few months will certainly be interesting. The Government has its challenges ahead, the greatest of which is to ensure that we lead the country through the difficult economic times and help those who are least able to protect themselves from an economic downturn.
"In the Whips Office I will be able to help steer the party and our legislation along the right road to achieve that. I am also delighted to have this rather privileged and unusual position which epitomises some of our best parliamentary traditions."