He’s 56 years old and a House of Commons veteran in charge of the UK’s £9 billion aid budget.
But Birmingham MP Andrew Mitchell has revealed he still receives advice – from his father.
His father David Mitchell was an MP for more than 30 years, from 1964 to 1997.
Although retired from the House of Commons, he continues to tell his son where the Government is getting it wrong.
Mitchell junior, the MP for Sutton Coldfield and Secretary of State for International Development, revealed the fatherly advice in an interview with magazine Total Politics.
His 84-year-old father sends articles cut from the Daily Mail criticising the Government, annotated with question marks and underlinings, he said.
David Mitchell was Conservative MP for Basingstoke from1964 to 1983, and MP for North West Hampshire from 1983 to 1997.
It meant that father and son were in the Commons together for a period, as Andrew Mitchell was MP for Gedling in Nottinghamshire from 1987 to 1997.
Andrew became a minister responsible for social security in John Major’s government. There was hilarity in the Chamber when his father, a backbencher, rose to criticise his son over the performance of the Child Support Agency.
In the same interview, Mr Mitchell spoke of his admiration for former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
He said: “To me, she was a goddess. When she walked down the corridors, I used to stand stiffly to attention and hope she would pass by.
“She had a habit of asking difficult questions. In the tea room she would come in and talk about the state of the money supply, which was always a frightening experience.”
And he defended the Government’s policy of ring-fencing the UK aid budget, even though other departments have been forced to cope with cuts.
As well as helping people in other countries, aid spending made the UK safer, he said.
Highlighting Somalia as an example, he said: “Somalia is an exporter of terrorism, drugs, piracy, disease and people. People leave Somalia for a better life. If you can tackle the causes of poverty and dysfunctionality, it is much cheaper and more cost-effective than to tackle the symptoms, as we are in Afghanistan.”
Mr Mitchell has announced further British support for refugees fleeing violence on the Sudanese border.
The aid will help more than 200,000 people in South Sudan with food, urgent healthcare and safe drinking water.
Refugee camps close to the border between Sudan and South Sudan are filling up while aid agencies struggle to cope with the flow of new arrivals and the threat of disease outbreaks.
Fresh British support is expected to provide primary health care including vaccinations and emergency treatment for 204,300 people, urgent food and nutritional supplements for 113,125 malnourished children, clean, safe drinking water and sanitation for 163,000 people and emergency shelter and other basic equipment to 56,750 people.
It will also provide food and agricultural supplies to 134,600 people and physical rehabilitation support for more than 300 injured survivors of violent assaults with weapons.
Mr Mitchell said: “As the eyes of the world turn to Britain on the eve of the London Olympics, we do not forget some of the world’s poorest people in South Sudan.
“Women and children have walked many miles in extremely harsh conditions to reach the safety of refugee camps so they can access basic lifesaving supplies when they get there.
“Britain will not forget the world’s poorest people during this time of sporting celebration.
“This is why, when the Olympics draws to its close, we will host a Global Nutrition Event to help millions of children worldwide to get better nutrition.”
The UN estimates that more than 107,000 people have fled to Upper Nile State since fighting broke out in Blue Nile State in September 2011. A further 55,000 refugees are currently in Yida camp in Unity State.