“There must be something in the water” was one explanation given for why a number of ex-Wimbledon Conservatives now find themselves running the country.
Tariq Ahmad, who was recently awarded a peerage by Prime Minister David Cameron, has been appointed to the Government as a front bench spokesman in the House of Lords.
Lord Ahmad, who represented Wimbledon Park ward until earlier this year, becomes the first member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association (AMA) to join the British Government.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to it and thrilled with the prospect of serving at a much higher level.
“It now means, for the first time in my life, that I’m a full-time politician and next week I should know which Government department I will serve in.”
Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond also joined the Government last week as a junior minister in the Department of Transport, during a controversial time for south-west London Conservative MPs who have
campaigned against building a third runway at Heathrow.
Last week, Mr Cameron refused to rule out a future Conservative government changing its current commitment to oppose the third runway, sparking criticism from Boris Johnson, the mayor of London.
Putney MP Justine Greening, one of the leading campaigners against the third runway, was removed as Transport Secretary in last week’s reshuffle.
In July, Mr Hammond wrote an article in which he said the case for the third runway should be “re-examined” as part of wider plans to increase airport capacity.
Mr Hammond denied his stance on the third runway had changed, but that he had mentioned it in the article because expanding Heathrow would “inevitably be part of the review process” and “should be
in the mix of all our options”.
Mr Hammond and Lord Ahmad are one of several ex-Merton Conservatives now in the Government, including Home Secretary Teresa May (former deputy leader of Merton Council and member for Durnsford
ward), Justice Secretary Chris Grayling (former shadow education spokesman and member for Hillside) and Culture Secretary Maria Miller (former deputy chairman of Merton Conservatives who
unsuccessfully stood in Trinity ward in 2002).
Lord Ahmad said: “There must be something in the water. We get nice people in Wimbledon who have a lot of talent.
“People make a lot of mileage out of living in other parts of the country, but I think Wimbledon should be proud to have such a big representation in Government.”