Arch PFI critic gets Highways England brief

MP who campaigned for PFI 'rebate' promoted; former Exchequer Secretary gets junior transport role

Jesse Norman has been appointed as the new Minister of State for Transport, following the resignation of Jo Johnson last week.

Norman, who was previously parliamentary under secretary of state at the department, made a name for himself as a backbench MP by vigorously campaigning for a rebate from investors in PFI contracts.

His new brief includes responsibility for Highways England, which had been looking to use the PF2 model to deliver two new road schemes until the model was abolished by Chancellor Philip Hammond in the Budget last month.

It remains unclear how the A303 and Lower Thames Crossing projects will now proceed, with Highways England's chief having suggested that a publicly funded route will be necessary. However, sources have told Partnerships Bulletin that departments have been urged to remain patient, with an alternative approach expected to emerge from the government's infrastructure finance review.

Meanwhile, Norman's previous job has been given to former Exchequer Secretary Andrew Jones.

Jones was replaced int he Treasury by Robert Jenrick in January, with many in the infrastructure industry suggesting he had not been visible enough. He was previously parliamentary under secretary of state at the department from May 2015 to June 2017.