The appointment of Rob Wilson as Minister for Civil Society after Brooks Newmark’s resignation on Saturday has created a "farcical situation" for the voluntary sector, according to Jay Kennedy, director of policy and research at the Directory of Social Change.
Newmark stepped down having held the post for just over two months after the Sunday Mirror reported over the weekend that he had sent a sexually explicit picture of himself to an undercover journalist who was posing as a female Tory PR intern.
Newmark, the Conservative MP for Braintree, has been replaced by Wilson, the Conservative MP for Reading East. Wilson has previously held junior government roles, including that of parliamentary private secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, between October 2013 and July this year.
Newmark had replaced Nick Hurd, who had held the ministerial post for four years until he resigned as part of a government reshuffle in July.
Kennedy said in a statement: "It’s a farcical situation that further underlines that Number 10 was wrong to dump Nick Hurd in the reshuffle – it made absolutely no sense given the time left until the general election. We’ve gone from one minister in post for four years to two ministers in post in four months."
He said: "I hope Wilson succeeds but, regardless of the personalities involved, this ministerial game of musical chairs just isn’t good governance."
Asheem Singh, director of policy at Acevo, said in a statement it was pleased by Wilson’s appointment. "It must be a positive for the sector to have a minister in place who, as parliamentary private secretary to Osborne, has been close to the Treasury and the political centre of government. He's on a steep learning curve: a lot can go wrong as well as right before the next election, and he arrives as the government's relationship with the sector is not in the best condition. He'll need to work closely with us to ensure it all goes as well as it should and we look forward to doing so."
A spokesman for the National Council for Voluntary Organisations said in a statement: "We look forward to working with Wilson and showing how our members improve the lives of people around the country, whether through helping people who need support, running innovative public services or boosting the skills and confidence of millions who volunteer with them."
Mark Pritchard, Conservative MP for The Wrekin in Shropshire, said in a tweet today that he planned to complain to the Metropolitan Police and the new press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Sunday Mirror story about Newmark was not in the public interest.