As those who follow UK news and politics will have heard, last week saw a significant shake-up of the Coalition government’s cabinet. Many old faces swapped positions, whilst new faces also joined the ranks of the ministerial elite.
At the Department for International Development [also known as DFID], change was in full swing as the serving Secretary of State, Andrew Mitchell MP, was replaced as Secretary of State for International Development by Justine Greening MP, possibly best known to the UK public for her previous role as Secretary of State for Transport. In this installment, the RESULTS Blog looks at the two new faces currently moving in to their offices at DFID.
Replacing Andrew Mitchell MP as Secretary of State is Justine Greening MP, most recently Secretary of State for Transport and a vocal critic of Heathrow Airport expansion plans. The Secretary of State is the top position at DFID, and as such Greening will have a major say in how the Department is run under her watch, and whether she maintains Andrew Mitchell’s priorities or charts her own course. Elected in 2005 as MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields in South-West London , Greening was Economic Secretary at the Treasury for over a year before moving to Transport. Before entering politics she worked in business management, and she moves to DFID with big shoes to fill after the departure of the reasonably popular Andrew Mitchell, who will be putting his military background to good use in his new role as Chief Whip for the Conservative Party in Parliament. Speaking about her appointment, Greening said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed International Development Secretary to lead the Government’s work to promote development around the world… I am proud to have the opportunity to play a key part in this vital work and I look forward to continuing the strong working relationships that my predecessor Andrew Mitchell established with DFID’s partners in the international development community.” Incidentally, Greening will be replaced as Transport Secretary by Patrick McLoughlin MP, who lost his job as Chief Whip to her predecessor at DFID, Andrew Mitchell.
The other change at the top of DFID involved Lynne Featherstone MP, who stepped in to replace Stephen O’Brien MP as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, the number three job in the Department. Featherstone previously served at the Home Office dealing with issues related to equality in society, and in her blog she wrote: “It’s great to be returning to International Development, which I used to shadow in opposition and which is a department I worked closely with on much of my overseas equalities work, promoting human rights and equal treatment not just in the UK but also in other countries.” Featherstone has represented her North London constitutency since 2005, following a career in design and several years in municipal politics in London.
Remaining in place is Alan Duncan MP, who keeps his role as Minister of State for International Development, the second-highest position in the Department.