A junior front bench role in Opposition is about the most thankless task in British politics. You slave away doing all the donkey work and then if you have a really good policy idea or photo op your Shadow Secretary of State usually intercedes and nicks it for him or herself on the basis that you won't generate the media coverage. And if it's a really, really good idea in will step David Cameron and take it over. You sit on the side of the stage clapping like a seal thinking to yourself 'what more do I have to do to replace those dunderheads in the Shadow Cabinet?' I jest and exaggerate, but you get the picture. In this post I want to pay tribute to the unsung heroes of the Tory front bench - the worker bees who bring honey to the 'Queen' but don't necessarily get the thanks or recognition they deserve. In no particular order...
Has worked like a beaver behind the scenes to improve the standing of the Conservative Party in the City - and he writes an excellent blog too.
Been in the whips office for years and has the rare distinction of being liked by everyone. Enjoys good relations with Labour MPs and whips and is vital in making the 'usual channels work.
Covers the small business portfolio. Is working wonders developing a business friendly platform for the party and building bridges with the small business community.
Covers sport and the olympics. Quiet in approach but highly effective. Seen by some as a future chief whip.
Has beavered away as number two to various Shadow Secretaries for some years. Was superb in the equalities portfolio and has made his mark in the business area, especially on post office closures.
After a long spell at Health, were he was jokingly known as the Shadow Minister for Sex, Burns has moved back to the whips office. An obsessive Hillary Clinton supporter, but we must forgive him that one defect.
Has been the party's agriculture spokesman for more years than he may care to remember. Trusted by the farming community he would make a superb Agriculture Minister.
Recently moved back to the whips office to take on a much needed developmental role. Has a wicked sense of humour and served the party well as local government spokesman.
Spent several years covering Home affairs issues under David Davis and is now responsible for prisons policy. One of politics' genuine nice guys who throws himself totally in whatever portfolio he covers.
Covers womens' issues but IMHO she is wasted in that job. She's a talented communicator and ought to be fronting a serious policy portfolio. She was an excellent SPAD to John MacGregor when he was Transport Secretary.