Was Moss shocked to be sacked? You bet!

PUBLISHED: 11:41 10 November 2006 | UPDATED: 22:21 28 May 2010

Malcolm Moss

Malcolm Moss

MALCOLM Moss was yesterday still reeling from his sacking from the Opposition Front Bench after being dismissed in a 10-minute meeting with Conservative leader David Cameron. It was a strange meeting because I had no inkling anything was in the wind, sa

MALCOLM Moss was yesterday still reeling from his sacking from the Opposition Front Bench after being dismissed in a 10-minute meeting with Conservative leader David Cameron.

"It was a strange meeting because I had no inkling anything was in the wind," said Mr Moss after being removed from his front bench post handling gambling and licensing.

It has since emerged that not only did Mr Moss have no idea of the axe that was about to fall, neither did his boss in the Shadow Ministry, Hugo Swires.

Mr Moss, MP for North-East Cambridgeshire, has been heavily involved in the new Gambling Bill going through Parliament and many in the industry were shocked by his sudden departure.

"My phone hasn't stopped ringing," Mr Moss said yesterday, just 24 hours after the surprise announcement. "My team is all devastated."

However, all may not be lost since it is thought Mr Cameron only acted to bring in a replacement, Ann Milton, MP, to satisfy those critics wanting more women in the Shadow team and also wanting more opportunities for those MPs elected in 2005.

Mr Moss is relaxed about his future prospects since it is likely he will move to a prestigious post on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

But it may not be quite all over for Mr Moss and his gaming and licensing. Critics within his own party of the decision to remove him are already suggesting there remains a vacancy within the department for another Shadow Minister, and that Ann Milton be offered the tourism role, and he should retain the licensing and gambling brief.

Mr Moss believes he is best qualified to handle the Opposition case on the new Gambling Bill but, even if he does go to the Foreign Affairs Committee, he feels the Conservative Party could have handled things better.

"If our HR was more sensible, the move could have been flagged up and we could have prepared an exit strategy," said Mr Moss, 63, an MP since 1987.

This week's reshuffle by Mr Cameron saw eight MPs who won seats in 2005 drafted on to the Conservative front bench.

There was good news for one MP from this region - Henry Bellingham, MP for North-West Norfolk, gets a step up as Shadow Minister for Constitutional Affairs.

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