Robert Jack the Managing Editor of Passenger Transport has written the following regarding Norman’s move away from the Department for Transport:
Norman Baker’s promotion to minister of state at the Home Office has caused a bit of a stir in the Westminster Village, with the deputy political editor of the Daily Mirror suggesting that he was a “a human jamming device”, planted there by Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg “to disrupt Theresa May’s signal”. Although it didn’t attract the same amount of publicity, his appointment as parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department for Transport back in May 2010 also raised eyebrows. However, Baker gained widespread respect during his three years, four months and 22 days at the DfT, and he won over many of those who doubted him initially, Few in the bus industry celebrated his arrival, but they lamented his departure this week.
Of course, his relatively long tenure in office helped him to make an impact. The transport sector sees ministers come and go like trains at Clapham Junction, and it’s for this reason that Baker was given a special long service award at last year’s UK Bus Awards!
Baker took on the job at a time when money was very tight, but he displayed an ability to sniff out spare funds and siphon them off into a strong vision for the future of travel, and passenger transport was at the very heart of it – delivering seamless door-to-door journeys.
A new benchmark has been set for what the sector expects from its ministers. Goodbye Norman, you’ll be a tough act to follow.