You can’t keep a ConservativeHome columnist down. Nicky Morgan goes straight to the Lords and will serve from there as Culture Secretary. She floated replacing the BBC with a Netflix-style subscription service earlier this autumn. The Government is mulling whether or not to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee.
The other Cabinet gap could have been filled by a former Wales Secretary, a former Chairman of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee or a present junior Minister. Boris Johnson has gone for the last. Simon Hart was prominent in the Brexit Delivery Group, formed to help Theresa May’s Brexit deal get through the Commons, and is a former Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance.
We expect that Hart will be in place for a while, but that the same surely doesn’t apply to Morgan, good egg though she undoubtedly is – and a bit of a Brexit hero too, given her role with Steve Baker, Damian Green and Hart himself in forming the so-called Malthouse Compromise.
Johnson and Dominic Cummings are clearly planning a department shake-up involving inter alia: the Business and Trade departments (with Climate Change out of it and digital perhaps in it); the Foreign Office and Dfid; the Home Office (with immigration dealt with by a separate department, and perhaps once again with responsibility for prisons).
Morgan appears to be minding the shop until this restructuring is settled and implemented – probably in February in the immediate wake of Brexit. So this small shuffle is a holding exercise and a bit of a non-shuffle. More junior appointments are below:
We’ve just been told of some other more minor government appointments:
- Anne-Marie Trevelyan to become a minister at the Ministry of Defence
- Jeremy Quin to become a parliamentary secretary at the Cabinet Office
- David TC Davies will become a parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Wales Office and an assistant government whip
- James Heappey to become a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence
- Kevin Foster to become a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office
- Robin Walker to become a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office solely.
And the following have left government:
- Mark Lancaster, previously a minister at the Ministry of Defence.
- Nick Hurd, previously a minister at the Northern Ireland Office.
- Seema Kennedy, previously a parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Home Office.
- Colin Clark, previously a parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Scotland Office and government whip.