Oliver Dowden has been appointed as the new culture secretary, overseeing the government department that holds responsibility for the voluntary sector.
The MP for Hertsmere, who was Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office, has been promoted to succeed Baroness Morgan at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s first major reshuffle.
Morgan stepped down as an MP at the general election in December, but was made a life peer and reappointed as culture secretary in a move that was expected to be a temporary measure until a wider Cabinet reshuffle could be conducted. She had been in the DCMS role since July.
Dowden, who has been an MP since 2015, was a special adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron between 2010 and 2015.
Dowden’s official website does not appear to mention any direct connections to any voluntary sector organisations, but he was a trustee of the Law Family Educational Trust, a charity that supports the running of several free schools in the Manchester area, between July 2016 and January 2018.
After the news of Dowden’s appointment had emerged, Morgan said on Twitter:
I’ve loved being @DCMS Secretary of State & being part of @BorisJohnson Government but it was no secret that I still intended to step back from the Cabinet. So I wish @OliverDowden all the very best in a brilliant role with a great team & lots of fascinating policy challenges— Baroness Morgan of Cotes (@NickyMorgan01) February 13, 2020
Ashleigh Milson, head of campaigns at the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “Oliver Dowden is already a strong supporter of the need for social impact to be part of the decision-making when government contracts are awarded, something that we at CAF believe will bring tremendous value to the charities that provide front-line services.”
As this story was published, it was not clear whether the reshuffle would include the appointment of a new charities minister to replace Baroness Barran, who has held the role since July.
The armed forces minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan has been appointed international development secretary, seemingly putting an end to recent speculation that the department was to be folded into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
She succeeds Alok Sharma, who has become business secretary.