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Thursday 20th October 2011 | 15:17
Chloe Smith's meteoric promotion was no surprise to her many admirers, not least those who know how much she has impressed David Cameron since her by-election win.
I've now been told a version of just how the PM broke to his wunderkind the news of her elevation to the Treasury - and it underlines his determination to hire her. The phone call went roughly like this:
PM: "Hi Chloe, Prime Minister here, I'd like to offer you the post of Economic Secretary to the Treasury"
Chloe: "Well, thank you Prime Minister....It would be an honour, but the Treasury.... it's a little daunting..."
PM: "Not daunting surely for someone who was a chartered accountant?"
Chloe: "Er, well, actually Prime Minister, I wasn't an accountant. I was a management consultant in an accountancy firm."
PM: "Never mind! Welcome aboard!"
It sounds wonderfully authentic, given the way Prime Ministers appoint their ministers over the phone*. For the record, English lit graduate Chloe worked for Deloitte's - that must be why his intel was slightly awry.
Still, she'd better be good with numbers now...
*FOOTNOTE: It reminds me of the time Blair rang the wrong guy to offer him a job in an early reshuffle. Back in his first term, he rang Bernard (Lord) Donougue, Harold Wilson's former policy adviser, to offer him a minsterial post at Agriculture.
But it was only mid-way through the conversation that Blair realised that the man on the other end of the phone was actually Brian Donohoe, a humble backbencher. Blair quickly realised his error and the shortest ever ministerial job offer was quickly ended.
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