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  • 04 November 2013 00:00
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Helen Grant will be a fantastic Minister for Sport says Hugh Robertson

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Hugh Robertson has backed successor Helen Grant to be a fantastic Minister for Sport after she took up the role last month as part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle. 

The cabinet reshuffle saw Robertson, who has been Sports Minister for the last three years, promoted to the Foreign Office in what has been widely viewed as a reward for helping successfully deliver the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

The move ended Robertson’s near-decade involvement with sport as either Minister or Shadow Minister, in which he has drawn huge plaudits for his work.

But despite the move, Robertson says he could not think of a more suitable successor than Grant - a 52-year-old solicitor who is the Conservative Party’s first black female MP.

"Personally, I cannot think of anybody better to succeed me as Minister for Sport than Helen,” Robertson exclusively told Community Sport Network.

"She is someone from a sporting background who truly understands the power of sport and is passionate about it. 

"Helen is the perfect person to drive the ongoing London 2012 legacy commitments and to continue to fight for sport on all fronts. 

"I have no doubt that sport will benefit greatly from Helen’s skill and expertise and I was absolutely thrilled to see her appointed as my successor because it means that sport is in very safe hands indeed.”

Robertson, the 50-year-old former military man who is the MP for Facersham and Mid Kent, also revealed he will still be involved in overseeing the London 2012 legacy in his new role at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office despite the vast majority of his sporting commitments coming to an end. 

"One of my policy areas at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is Olympic and Paralympic Legacy so I am delighted that I will still be contributing to that,” he said.

"I will certainly maintain a very keen interest in what is going on in the world of sport but I will not have a day-to-day involvement in it anymore and that is the way it should be. 

"It is only right that I stand aside and give Helen a clear run. 

"Helen is more than capable and it would not be right if I was there interfering.”

Robertson considers one of his biggest accomplishments as Minister for Sport to be helping sport with the strong settlement it received in the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review back in 2010. 

The settlement saw sport’s share of the lottery increase from 13.7% to 20%, bringing in an extra £150 million to help offset the large amount of exchequer funding that was cut. 

"That settlement saw increases in sport’s share of lottery funding, which has helped protect the interests of sport in an economic recession,” Robertson explained. 

"We are really seeing the benefits of that now. 

"At the elite level, it has allowed UK Sport to increase their funding for athletes for the Rio cycle and to operate their Gold Event Series to bring major sporting events to the UK - which is a big part of the London 2012 legacy. 

"At grassroots level, it has allowed Sport England to deliver their People, Places, Play programme that has resulted in huge successes, such as the development and improvement of 1,400 sports clubs in the country. 

"I see that as a very big achievement.” 

To read the full Q&A interview with Hugh Robertson Click Here
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