ALOK Sharma has been promoted after just four months in Parliament.

The Reading West Tory MP has been appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Mark Hoban, Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

Mr Sharma, who won retired Labour MP Martin Salter’s seat in May, said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to this role and look forward to assisting Mark Hoban. The Treasury is at the heart of Government decision-making and I am sure that the PPS job will be an extremely interesting one.”

He sat behind his new boss during the Equitable Life compensation debate on Tuesday as Mr Hoban stood at the Dispatch box setting out the Government's position during the Second Reading of the Bill.

Mr Sharma's new position could make it even more difficult for him to honour his pledge to policyholders to vote for fair compensation, as reported in The Chronicle last week, because he will be expected to vote not only with the Government, but with Mr Hoban, who is responsible for the compensation policy.

A final decision is expected as part of the comprehensive spending review next month.

Mr Sharma will also be helping Mr Hoban with banking and City reform and regulation, the state-owned banks, pensions policy and international finance. As a PPS, he will also be keeping track of backbench opinion on these issues.

Reading East MP Rob Wilson is also a PPS, to culture secretary Jeremy Hunt.