Former soldier Tom Tugendhat has been reappointed to the government as security minister in the Home Office.
Although 49-year-old rising star is not a secretary of state, his role means he has a seat at Rishi Sunak’s cabinet table.
This is thought to reflect the seriousness of his brief but also in recognition of his abilities.
Mr Tugendhat, who enjoys one of the safest seats in Tonbridge and Malling with a near 27,000 majority, gave a keynote speech at the recent International Security Expo at London’s Olympia.
He also met with Figen Murray, the mother of a victim of the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, at ISE as she pressed for the implementation of of Martyn’s Law.
The legislation, named after her son who died and which is due to come into force soon, would mean tighter controls on the security sector.
Mr Tugendhat, often regarded as a future Conservative leader, was given the role by Liz Truss after reaching the final five in the Conservative leadership race after Boris Johnson resigned earlier this year.
He has never made a secret of his ambitions to be Prime Minister one day. Thus far, he has been hampered by a lack of ministerial experience but is seen as a natural fit for the role of Foreign Secretary, one of the highest offices in the land.
TOM TUGENDHAT LANDS GOVERNMENT ROLE
The former Territorial Army officer, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee from 2017 until his cabinet appointment.
He left the Armed Forces under the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, having originally been commissioned in the Territorial Army.
He served in Afghanistan in a civilian capacity, for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), and also helped set up the National Security Council of Afghanistan and the government in Helmand Province.
Mr Tugendhat later served as one of the military assistants to the Chief of the Defence Staff.
Mr Tugendhat, who became a journalist on the Beirut Daily Star for a short time after leaving university, has always been considered part of the “centrist” One Nation group of Tory MPs.
He is noted for his grasp of foreign affairs, particularly the Middle East.
He was highly critical of the withdrawal from Afghanistan by Western forces in 2021 and of Mr Johnson during his premiership.
Mr Tugendhat was educated at St Paul’s School, London, an all-boys independent school.
He studied theology at the University of Bristol, before doing a Master’s degree course in Islamic studies at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and learning Arabic in Yemen.
The MP, the son of a former High Court judge, has a majority of 26,904 in his Kent constituency. All but one of the county’s constituencies is Conservative, most with very healthy majorities.
The Tories are hoping that the Sunak premiership will signal a reversal in their current fortunes in opinion polling.
However, the Labour party has been regularly polling 30% higher than the Conservatives, with confidence crashing following the disastrous Liz Truss mini- budget. Her tenure was the shortest in British political history.
One polling data analysis website has predicted the Tories would be all but wiped out at the next general election with almost every safe Tory seat, including that of Mr Tugendhat, being lost.
Few believe this to be likely as Mr Tugendhat is regarded as an attentive and effective local MP who spends a lot of time on the patch.
He also employs more people in his constituency office than his House of Commons base, so that the needs of his constituents can be dealt with quickly.
On his appointment as security minister, he posted on his website: “I was honoured to be asked by the Prime Minister to join the Government and serve as Minister of State for Security at the Home Office.
“Although I am now in Government my work across Tonbridge, Edenbridge and Malling continues and I remain committed to using my role for the best for our community, and country.”