Norman Baker: in profile

normanbakerThe latest Total Politics magazine has a profile of Lib Dem health home office minister Norman Baker. Here’s a snippet:

at the Home Office, Baker’s relationship with his boss Theresa May has developed into one of mutual respect. (May apparently told Baker early on that she didn’t know where the “spitting tacks” comment had come from.) According to one fellow MP: “He probably likes her because she stands up to Number 10. For her part, Theresa May doesn’t suffer fools gladly. It would’ve leaked out if she was unhappy with him.”

That’s not to say Baker hasn’t brought a more liberal flavour to the Home Office. During his first appearance in front of the Home Affairs Committee he refused to rule out legalising cannabis. And although he is currently tight-lipped about future drugs policy – he doesn’t want to prejudge the yet-to-report international comparative study commissioned by his predecessor Jeremy Browne – in other areas he is freer to stand up for his beliefs. Baker can, for example, take much of the credit for the recent advancements in policy aimed at tackling female genital mutilation (FGM), something he has campaigned against passionately.

Baker is also more ‘off message’ than Browne was and, unlike many ministers, writes most of his own speeches. He takes the view that as long as he stays within government policy, he is free to say what he likes.

Days are long – Baker is said to work from 8am-11pm – but he’s clearly well-suited to his departmental portfolio. As he would be the first to admit, he is majoring on some of the issues, such as domestic violence and forced marriage, where he and the Home Secretary are in genuine agreement, making progress far easier than if Coalition flashpoints like immigration fell under his brief.

You can read Jessica Bowie’s full profile of Stormin’ Norman here.

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8 Comments

  • William Barter 8th Aug '14 - 12:15pm

    I have been saying for a while that I have been very impressed with Norman’s work. Since he has gone to the home office they seemed to have stopped coming out with their ‘authoritarian policy of the week’, every week. These successes are are harder to spot than the obvious (and very important) policy successes the article outlines, as they are the absence of bad decisions and policies, but they are there; they are very important wins that should make Lib Dems proud to be in government. As with his previous ministerial positions, Norman has silenced his critics and shown himself to be one of our best ministers.

  • Given that he believes, without any credible evidence, that his own department colluded with the security services to assassinate David Kelly and cover it up, not to mention his position on animal experimentation, he’s probably the least qualified minister to be at the Home Office.

  • Alasdair Hill 8th Aug '14 - 6:06pm

    Whilst I disagree with his recent statement on animal testing, as said on my opinion piece, I do have respect for his position on a number of things including drugs policy and it is vital to have people who are not afraid to speak up.

  • Agree completely with the above

  • Norman Baker is a transport minister, not a health minister as your intro suggests.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 9th Aug '14 - 11:33pm

    @ Paul,

    Actually, he’s neither, as William and g pointed out above, he’s at the Home Office.

  • Simon Banks 13th Aug '14 - 8:25am

    Why is a profile illustrated with a full-face picture?

    I think we should be told.

  • Matt (Bristol) 3rd Nov '14 - 10:56pm

    Bumping up this thread in response to Mr Baker’s reported resignation and criticism of Theresa May. The protests of good working relationships above never really convinced, did they?

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