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Blair makes aide a minister

May 10, 2005 11:53 IST

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has risked a new row over cronyism by appointing a Labour donor and a close Downing Street adviser to his ministerial team.

The prime minister, who won a historic third term, made Lord Drayson, a Labour benefactor, a defence minister, and Andrew Adonis, a senior No 10 aide, a junior minister at the department for education and skills.

Lord Drayson, who will be unpaid, has enjoyed a close relationship with the government. According to a report in the 'Financial Times,' his former company, PowderJect, made millions providing smallpox vaccine to the government after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Adonis is a firm proponent of giving schools more direct control of their finances and management.

Former immigration minister Beverley Hughes is back in government as children's minister in the post-poll reshuffle.

Hughes had to quit last year after "unwittingly" misleading people over her knowledge of lax visa checks on Romanian and Bulgarian applicants.

The new House of Commons will see a record number of 127 women members-- of which 97 are from Labour Party.

There will be 15 ethnic minority MPs-- 13 of them from Labour.

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