David Cameron’s wide-ranging reshuffle on Tuesday saw minister for political and constitutional reform Mark Harper move to a new position at the Home Office as immigration minister.
Harper had been overseeing plans for the Government’s proposed statutory register of lobbyists.
A minister is yet to be handed Harper’s responsibilities, although a Cabinet Office source quizzed on who could take these on named Smith as a leading contender. They did not put any other names in the frame.
Smith has joined the Cabinet Office as parliamentary secretary from The Treasury. Smith’s precise duties at the Cabinet Office are yet to be announced.
A Cabinet Office spokesman told PRWeek that a replacement for Harper would be announced in the coming week, explaining: ‘It’s normal after a reshuffle for people’s exact briefs to take a little time to be confirmed.’
However, the Cabinet Office has stated that the Government remains committed to its plans to publish a draft bill and white paper during this parliamentary session, which is expected to end next May.
Harper promised that the Government would introduce legislation over a lobbying register before the next general election in 2015.
Smith hit the news in June when she was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight over George Osborne’s decision to delay plans to increase fuel duty.
Smith was asked: ‘Don’t you ever feel that you are incompetent?’ by Paxman after a seemingly unprepared interview.