Conservatives announce sector spokesman

The Conservatives have appointed Andrew Turner, MP for the Isle of Wight, as spokesman for the voluntary sector. Turner succeeds Jacqui Lait, who became shadow Minister for London in the wake of last month's General Election.

Turner's background is in education - he trained as a teacher in Birmingham and has taught both economics and geography at comprehensive schools.

This is Turner's first position as a frontbencher since becoming an MP in 2001. "I want to find out what can be done to facilitate the operations of charities at a local level," he said.

"I think charities are well organised at the national level, and I have no doubt that I will hear from them. But I want to make sure that I don't lose sight of the fact that a great deal of the voluntary sector's activity comes from the people who volunteer locally."

Turner was head of the Grant-Maintained Schools Foundation for 11 years, and was later appointed to the Select Committee on Education and Skills.

In 2003, he was appointed vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, jointly in charge of campaigning with Boris Johnson, the Tory MP for Henley.

Turner also worked in Whitehall as special adviser for several health and social security ministers, and in local government as an Oxford city councillor.

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