ALDERSHOT MP Gerald Howarth's consistent support for his party leader has been rewarded with a post as defence spokesman in the Shadow Government.

Iain Duncan Smith telephoned Mr Howarth to offer him the post last Thursday and he accepted immediately.

Mr Howarth said he was "delighted" and believed the job would help him raise the profile of the Aldershot Garrison.

He was one of Iain Duncan Smith's most vocal supporters in the party leadership battle after William Haig stepped down in the wake of another disastrous election for the Conservatives.

At a time when most Tory MPs were backing Michael Portillo or Kenneth Clarke, Mr Howarth stuck his neck out in support of Mr Duncan Smith.

Many were surprised that he did not win a place on Mr Duncan Smith's original opposition team.

He will be working under Shadow Defence Secretary Bernard Jenkins and alongside fellow defence spokesman James Gray.

Mr Howarth said: "It wasn't entirely out of the blue, if I can put it that way.

"I was very much a supporter of his when he was Shadow Defence Secretary.

"I think this is one of the most prestigious jobs for a Conservative because defence is such a key issue for us.

"It dovetails so much with what goes on in the Aldershot constituency."

(Read more in the Mail on Tuesday)