Tourism minister’s wife is an ex-director of Thomas Cook

New tourism minister John Penrose should have a close understanding of the outbound travel industry – thanks to his wife.

Penrose, Conservative MP for Weston-super-Mare, is married to former Thomas Cook marketing director Dido Harding, now chief executive of Talk Talk.

Before the election, Penrose was a shadow minister at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

His full list of responsibilities has not been revealed, but it is thought he could have the same responsibilities as former shadow tourism minister Tobias Ellwood, which were tourism, gambling and horseracing.

Ellwood was one of the few Conservative shadow ministers not to get a post in the new government.

Penrose will report to Jeremy Hunt, the new secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport.

Philip Hammond, the new transport secretary, has been approached to speak at Abta’s half-day Travel Matters event in London on June 3 although no confirmation of his attendance has been received.

New Abta board adviser Christine Farnish, Barclays group public policy director, has been confirmed as a speaker.

A ‘T20’ breakfast, to be attended by 20 top travel executives, will be addressed by Will Day, chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission.

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