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Thursday, 27 July, 2000, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
Norris rewarded with Tory party role

Steve Norris re-joins the Tory team
The defeated Conservative candidate for London mayor, Steve Norris, has been appointed vice chairman of the Conservative Party.

Mr Norris will be in charge of the party's Cultural Unit and Conservative Future.

The role will see him attempt to bring more ethnic minority and young people into the party.

In other changes to William Hague's team, John Bercow will become a home affairs spokesman, John Hayes becomes an education and employment shadow minister, and Eleanor Laing will take up a constitutional affairs role.

The mini re-shuffle was prompted by Sir Patrick Cormack's decision to leave the frontbench to campaign for Speaker.

Despite losing out in London to Ken Livingstone, Mr Norris peformed much better than expected in the mayoral race as Labour slumped.

Colourful figure

Mr Norris only won the Tory nomination when Lord Archer was forced to step down after he admitted asking a friend to lie over evidence to a libel trial.

One of politics more colourful figures, Mr Norris, now newly married, once publically acknowledged he had had a string of mistresses.

During London's elections he refused to back William Hague's campaign to keep Section 28 and once remarked that backing tolerance and equality would "burn off some people on the far right-wing of the party".

According to one of his aides, Ceri Evans, Mr Norris believed the core of the Tory party to be "unpleasant" as far as the equality agenda was concerned.

Mr Norris was a transport minister under John Major. He does not currently have a seat in Parliament, having stepped down ahead of the 1997 general election.

Before joining the race for mayor he headed the Road Haulage Association.

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See also:

02 Jun 00 | UK
Norris robbed of Rolex
05 May 00 | London Mayor
Steve Norris: Tory who ran as a liberal
16 May 00 | UK Politics
Livingstone triumphs in London
27 Apr 00 | London Mayor
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26 Apr 00 | London Mayor
Norris defends 'unpleasant' Tories
08 Apr 00 | London Mayor
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17 Jan 00 | UK Politics
Norris wins Tory mayoral race
02 Jan 00 | UK Politics
Norris warns against move to right
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