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Media Watch 2005

20 May 2005
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author:
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 20 May 2005.
Greek Cypriot gets top UK government post


FOLLOWING the UK Labour party’s third successive election victory, Prime Minister Tony Blair has appointed his trusted Greek Cypriot aide to a top post in his new government.

Andrew Adonis, 42, is thought to be the first Cypriot to hold such a senior post and is one of Blair’s most trusted advisers.

The PM’s senior policy advisor on education, public services and constitutional reform was appointed as junior Education Minister with a seat in the House of Lords. The Chancellor Gordon Brown was said to have opposed the appointment of Downing Street’s key adviser Adonis and his peerage was also seen as a controversial move by Blair.

He is thought to have been the catalyst behind some the most controversial education policies in the last government.

Adonis is not a popular choice among left-leaning Labour MPs as he was influential in such contentious policies as university top-up fees, more parental power over schools, less education authorities and business-backed city academies. But Blair believes his promotion from role of government advisor to that of minister will strengthen the Department of Education and ensure this policy area remains top of the agenda. Adonis, a former Oxford Don, is the son of a Greek Cypriot postman and trade unionist. He attended fee-paying Kingham Hill School, Oxfordshire and went to study at Jesus College and Nuffield College, Oxford.

Columnist

He worked for the Financial Times covering education and went to become a columnist for the Observer. The Cypriot joined the No 10 Policy Unit in 1998 and headed the body At the relatively young age of 38.

He stepped down in 2003 to focus more on education issues. He is reported to have been instrumental in the resignation of Education Secretary Estelle Morris with whom he did not see eye-to-eye. The fact that Adonis is a former Social Democrat activist is part of the reason he is viewed with suspicion by the Labour old guard but he has Blair’s full confidence and backing.

The rise of one Cypriot in the Labour party has coincided with the fall of a long-time friend of Cyprus, Tom Cox, who was not re-elected as MP for Tooting, south London after 35 years as a serving MP. Cox was a frequent visitor to Cyprus and a champion of the Greek Cypriot cause and critical of Britain’s Approach to a settlement. It is believed that Cox was ousted because he paid too much attention to Cyprus and not the concerns of constituents in ward comprising of very few Cypriot voters. Cox says he will continue to fight against the Turkish occupation of Cyprus."