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Row over new Schools Minister

Row over new Schools Minister
A row erupted this evening over the appointment of a former Tory donor and education charity founder as the new education minister.

John Nash, a businessman, has given £182,000 to the Tories since 2006. Including donations from his wife and related companies, the figure is closer to £300k.

His appointment was blasted as "jobs for the boys" by the Labour party.

"With yesterday's promotion of Lord Popat and now John Nash handed a peerage and a new post, two major Tory donors have been given ministerial jobs in just two days," Labour Vice Chair Michael Dugher said.

But Number 10 defended the move today, assuring that new Schools Minister Lord Nash would not be taking decisions where there was a "conflict of interest".

"What qualifies him for the job is his extensive knowledge of the education sector," a Downing Street spokesman said.

"He has had a role in an education charity but as part of his appointment the Permanent Secretary and the Cabinet Office have agreed how to handle any areas in which there might be a perceived conflict or a conflict of interest and of course he will not be taking any decisions where that might be the case."

The spokesman added that he would not make any policy decisions which could affect the charity he founded, Future.

Lord Nash also founded a firm - Sovereign Capital - in 2001, that made millions in contracts from the Department for Work and Pensions.

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