The Department for International Development’s entire junior ministerial team has been merged with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, amid fears of a full-blown merger between the two departments.
The MPs James Cleverly, Nigel Adams, James Duddridge and Wendy Morton are all now shared between the FCO and DfID as either ministers or under-secretaries of state.
Baroness Sugg and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon also hold joint roles across the two departments.
The former MP and now Conservative peer Zac Goldsmith holds a ministerial role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, as well as at the FCO and DfID.
The changes have come amid speculation in the media leading up to last week’s government reshuffle that DfID would become part of the FCO.
But the department remained independent, with Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed, appointed as the fourth international development secretary in a year, replacing Alok Sharma.
Trevelyan has previously voiced support for aid spending to be redirected to causes in the UK.
Last year, more than 100 charities urged the government to retain DfID as an independent department, with concerns that a merger with the FCO would dilute the UK’s commitment to humanitarian aid.
The international development charity umbrella group Bond said it hoped the new ministerial arrangements would strengthen cooperation between the FCO and DfID.
Simon Starling, director of policy, advocacy and research for Bond, said: “We hope the increase in the number of joint ministers results in improved policy coherence across an aid and development agenda that prioritises the world’s poorest people and sustainable economic development.
“DfID needs to be able to get on with the job of helping to make the world a safer, healthier and more sustainable place for us all, rather than living in constant fear of a guillotine above its head.”