Who is Mel Stride - the unlikely poster boy of the Tory election campaign?

Who is Mel Stride - the unlikely poster boy of the Tory election campaign?

Cabinet minister Mel Stride has been “doing the heavy lifting” for the Tories as he completed a fourth media round in two weeks.

The Work and Pensions Secretary seems to have become “the trusted voice of the Conservative party”, being regularly sent to be grilled by broadcasters.

The Conservative candidate for Central Devon has already spoken to interviewers on May 28, May 31, June 6 as well as on Tuesday, making him one of the most visible Tory candidates ahead of the July 4 poll.

Mr Stride was praised by his former Labour rival Ed Balls for “doing all the heavy lifting himself” when he was introduced on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday.

The former shadow chancellor quipped: “Mr Stride I have got to say you are more than pulling your weight. You have become the voice of the Conservative Party.

“What’s happened to the rest of your colleagues, why are you having to do all the heavy lifting yourself?”

In response Mr Stride joked: “I think that is the most generous and friendly thing you have ever said to me on your programme”.

He continued: “I am out and about and a lot of it I have to say is because we are talking about things in my area. For example pensions, like the triple pension lock.”

The minister received a similar welcome as he spoke to Nick Ferrari on LBC.

Introducing the Tory, the veteran radio host said: “No surprises for whom it is - Mel Stride.”

Mr Stride was cross-examined ahead of the launch of the Conservative Party’s manifesto on Tuesday taking questions on the Tories’ tax plans and rising unemployment.

It comes after he was forced to deny that the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will step down before the general election following widespread anger at his D-Day snub.

The minister has had more luck handling the daily political interviews than other top Tories, with an adviser attempting to stop a pool interview between Sky News’ Jon Craig and Conservative chairman Richard Holden.

Mr Holden was grilled about whether he was still “bloody loyal” to the North East of England after it was revealed he will stand in Basildon and Billericay in Essex.

Mr Stride took his first steps into politician as President of the Oxford Union while studying at university before setting up his own business specialising in trade exhibitions.

He joined Parliament in 2010, winning over 50 per cent of the vote in his constituency, after being added to David Cameron’s A-List of candidates.

He has held a series of Parliamentary roles, being made PPS to Skills Minister John Hayes in 2012.

Mr Stride later moved to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, working on the Energy Bill, before another promotion to become Minister of State in the Cabinet Office.

After serving as the Prime Minister’s Senior Parliamentary Advisor, he was promoted again to the Government Whips Office.