Pensions minister Steve Webb reckons people approach him in the street thanking him for his work in Government but it seems newly appointed economic secretary to the Treasury Andrea Leadsom is lacking the same charismatic appeal.
Plucked from the Treasury select committee, Leadsom is highly capable and once, apparently, told the Chancellor to “F**k off” (although she denies it).
But word reaches WSJ that an MP’s office recently called Treasury HQ asking to be put through to Leadsom’s team. Switchboard responded: “Sorry, how are you spelling that?” WSJ would have been tempted to reply: “M.I.N.I.S.T.E.R.”
Worse still, after being accidentally cut off, the caller rang again and asked a different operator for Leadsom’s office. Again the name was unrecognised despite the fact that Leadsom’s post is the fifth most senior in the Treasury.
WSJ can only guess that perhaps Leadsom has followed in her dear leader’s footsteps and changed her name, confusing Treasury staff. George Osborne was Gideon Oliver Osborne until he changed his name, aged 13, presumably in preparation for a political career where it would be hard enough for a Baron-in-waiting to convince the great unwashed he was one of them.
Not that a silly name has done for Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s everyman image.