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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Who is Lord Hill? (The UK's new appointment to be the UK's EU Commissioner)

The most visited Wikipedia page from Brussels IP addresses today will be Lord Hill's - the UK's European Commissioner nominee. Lord Hill is currently the leader of the House of Lords.

We have previously argued that David Cameron should "send forth to Brussels the best he has." The reason is simple: reform is fundamental to the UK's EU membership so the UK should put forward its best candidate to secure one of the 'big jobs' in the Juncker Commission and maximise the chances of negotiating success on all levels.

In 2009 Gordon Brown made a serious mistake in coming late to the game and sending a little known Peer, Cathy Ashton (also leader of the House of Lords incidentally) and ended up with a job that nobody else wanted. Have the lessons been learnt? Well, Cameron certainly hasn't sent the guy with the highest profile, instead prioritising avoiding a by-election, but it's too early to tell whether Lord Hill will sink or swim. He could turn out great.

But who is Lord Hill?

Well he's certainly not a household name but has been in the Cabinet albeit as a Lord. Here is his biography:
  • Conservative Research Department 1985-86 
  • Special advisor to Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke at Department of Employment 
  • DTI and Department of Health 1986-89 
  • Lowe Bell Communications 1989-91 
  • No 10 Policy Unit 1991-92 
  • Political secretary to Prime Minister John Major 1992-94 
  • Senior consultant Bell Pottinger Communications 1994-98 
  • Director Quiller Consultants 1998-2010; (a part of Huntsworth Plc) 
  • Under-secretary of state Department for Education 2010-13 
  • Leader of the House of Lords and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 2013-2014
Beyond that it is reportedly that he unsuccessfully attempted to resign as a minister in 2012, and recently ruled himself out as a candidate for European Commissioner, saying when asked
"Non, non, non. First, I don't believe I'm going to be asked. Secondly, I like it here. I quite like it at home, in the British Isles."
That's not the first time a politician has said something similar and ended up in that very position, though. Lord Hill is definitely well connected in the PR industry and knows the Conservative party. He knows the political system and the art of political public relations. Plenty of people say he's a 'fixer' who can work the corridors in Brussels - something which Cathy Ashton wasn't able to (partly because of her job which involved long absences from Brussels). It's too early to jump to conclusions.


Denis Cooper said...

So after all those careful and searching analyses, with all those various prominent names put into the frame and thoroughly discussed, Cameron suggests that somebody who few people have even heard of, an unelected legislator-for-life, should be the one to go to Brussels and take the oath of office that he will serve the EU.

Anonymous said...

One can only be depressed at this appointment of a nonentity to the Commission at such a critical point in time. His lack of significant ministerial experience and having never been elected to public office, makes this appointment a scandal as was the appointment of Cathy Ashton. Its unlikely that a person of such limited experience will be able to secure a significant portfolio let alone influence for the good the direction of the Commission. Its a tragedy that HMG fails, yet again, to comprehend the benefit of sending a heavy hitter to Brussels. From a Brussels insider but increasingly depressed with the EU

Anonymous said...

Who is Hill?

But then again who are Barrosso, Van Rumpy Pumpy and Juncker? We have never voted for any of them.

The EU is completely out of touch with us in the UK - AGAIN. This will be especially true if MEPs block Hill.

Just get us out of this club of incompetents and fools.


Rollo said...

They would send a heavy hitter if they had one. But, as we all know, they have not. Who would such a heavy hitter be? Clegg? Brown? Clarke? There is no-one of any stature in the whole of the House. The system attracts party-machine people that have graduated up the greasy pole: people who have never worked at a proper job, never shot at anyone or been shot at, never won or lost a contract, never had to fire anybody. If democracy dies, it is not because any of the perceived threats: it is because the system only attracts low grade tossers who then become our board of directors. Hard to make a mountain out of this mole Hill.

Anonymous said...

Sadly Cameron chooses a PR man rather than opt for a candidate with substance and experience. ' He might surprise ' is good PR spin.

Anonymous said...

Hill wasn't voted in, nor will any of the new commissioners. They are all nominees.

Hill has been in government for decades and so knows his way around legislation and the functionary role of the commissioners. An ideal appointment in that regard.

Junker wanted high profile women, we have sent a low profile but highly efficient man. I wonder what that says about the likelihood of the UK leaving. Junker would never have given the UK a decent job whoever we sent. Junker is anti-UK and like many who exist in Brussels would like nothing more than to see the UK leave.

Average Englishman said...

He looks like just the man to organize a UK exit from the EUSSR to me. All he needs to do is forget that bit in the oath he will have to take about pledging allegiance to the EUSSR. That shouldn't be difficult for a Westminster politician.

Anonymous said...

WHEN will Open Europe and the rest of the media get it into their heads that REFORM of the EU to suit Britain is IMPOSSIBLE! Yet still you all talk of 'securing reform'. The only reform we want is to be self-governing again and then what would be the point of paying £55 million a DAY to stay in the EU?

Seriously - let's DEBATE this - what reforms are possible, what reforms we want, how they could be secured and what would be the point of having self-governing powers back if we still have to pay colossal amounts of money to a socialist club that can ONLY exist by taking national powers AWAY? The lack of real debate tells more about the media than what little it does say.

Anonymous said...

Nigel Farage says: 'Lord Hill - who are you? My reaction to the news that Lord Hill has been nominated to be the UK's next European Commissioner by the Prime Minister.
There is nothing in Mr Hill's career path that would suggest that he is the one to renegotiate radical reform. I am surprised that David Cameron, at this juncture, would nominate someone who was special advisor to the Europhile Kenneth Clarke.'

Anonymous said...

So, basically, the man has never held a real job in his life.

Sounds about right.

Anonymous said...

"Lord" Hill who rose in Government to the profound and impressive heights of a PUSS, the lowest level of junior minister, who has never been elected to public office, will likely only be able to secure a lowly portfolio within the Commission commensurate with his less the impressive cv when compared to other candidates put forward by the member states. "Lord" Hill (aren't these silly UK titles an embarrassment) is hardly a hill, let alone a mountain, rather he is like a small bump. Ah, that reminds me, maybe we should be calling him Mr Bump. Small and insignificant. How could the UK have appointed a nonentity like that and expect a significant portfolio in the next Commission. From BrusselsSpout located in Brussels