Who’s who at the MoJ?
After an embarrassing eight day period in which there was no minister for prisons and probation (following Rory Stewart’s promotion), last night, 9 May 2019, the MoJ finally announced two new members of its team.
Change is the normal state of affairs at Petty France and Justice Secretary David Gauke is the only minister remaining from the reshuffle in January last year.
Here are my traditional short profiles of the Ministers alongside their roles and responsibilities.
David Gauke – Justice Secretary
Born in 1971 and educated at Northgate High School in Ipswich, Mr Gauke read law at St Edmund Hall, Oxford University. After a year working as a parliamentary researcher, he attended Chester College of Law before becoming a trainee solicitor. After qualifying as a solicitor in 1997, he worked for a leading City firm before entering Parliament in 2005. David lives in Chorleywood with his wife, Rachel, and their 3 sons and is a lifelong supporter of Ipswich Town.
Mr Gauke is the first solicitor to be Justice Secretary and the first lawyer to be Lord Chancellor since Ken Clarke.
He was elected to the House of Commons at the 2005 general election for Hertfordshire South West following the retirement of Richard Page. Gauke won the seat with a majority of 8,473, making his maiden speech on 9 June 2005. Between 2005 and 2008, he served as a member of the Procedure Select Committee. He was a member of the Treasury Select Committee between 2006 and 2007, before joining the Opposition front bench as Shadow Treasury Minister.
Following his re-election at the 2010 general election, he was appointed Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury before being appointed as Financial Secretary in 2014 and Chief Secretary to the Treasury in July 2016.
On 11 June 2017, Gauke was made Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, having previously only worked in the Treasury.
The Parliament UK site lists his political interests as tax, the economy, education and Europe. His page on the “They Work for You” site lists additional areas of interest as: Open Source Software; Departmental Computers; Police; Outsourcing; and Child Benefit: Personal Records.
Robert Buckland QC – Minister of State
His specific responsibilities include:
- Prison operations, reform and industrial relations
- Probation services and reform industrial relations
- Sentencing (including out of court disposals)
- Public protections (including Parole Board, IPPs and Serious Further Offences)
- Foreign National Offenders
- Electronic Monitoring
- Supporting the Secretary of State on departmental finances and transparency
Mr Buckland was born in Llanelli in 1968. He went to Hatfield College, Durham, graduating in Law in 1990. He attended the Inns of Court School of Law, where he was a prize winner for Advocacy and was Called to the Bar at Inner Temple in October 1991. In 1997, Robert married Sian, whom he met at university. In 2002, their twin children Millicent and George were born. They live in Wroughton. Mr Buckland’s interests include music, wine, political history and watching rugby and cricket.
He returned to practice in Wales, most recently being a member of Apex Chambers in Cardiff. Robert is a door tenant at 23 Essex Street Chambers, London. In 2009, he was appointed as a Recorder of the Crown Court, sitting on the Midland Circuit.
After three unsuccessful attempts to become an MP, Mr Buckland won South Swindon for the Conservatives in the 2010 election. He was previously Solicitor General, a post that he occupied from July 2014 until his promotion last night. Mr Buckland obviously has a detailed understanding of the criminal justice system and sat on the Justice Committee for three months in 2014 and the the Human Rights Committee between February 2013 and March 2015.
Paul Maynard – Under Secretary of State
Paul Maynard replaces Lucy Frazer (who has taken up Robert Buckland’s old job as Solicitor General) and has responsibilities for:
- Court services and reform (including Bills)
- Legal aid
- Legal support and fees
- Administrative justice and tribunals
- Criminal justice
- Family justice
- Supporting the Secretary of State on EU exit and international business
- Shadow Commons minister for Lord Keen portfolio (except for Civil Liabilities Bill)
- Parliamentary Minister (SIs)
Born in 1975, Mr Maynard studied history at Oxford and worked as a management consultant before being a special adviser and speechwriter for Liam Fox. He became MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys in 2010 and was promoted to be Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department for Transport in July 2016 before becoming a Whip in January 2018. He has sat on the Work and Pensions and Transport Committees. His political interests are listed as education and social policy. He has cerebral palsy.
Ed Argar – Under Secretary of State
Mr Argar has been at the MoJ since June 2018 and his responsibilities are:
- Victims (including domestic abuse and domestic violence)
- Female offenders
- Youth justice
- Offender health
- Coroners, burials, inquests and inquiries
- Lammy Review
- Race Disparity Audit (in relation to Ministry of Justice policy areas)
- Devolved Administrations (in relation to Ministry of Justice policy areas)
- Justice devolution
- Human rights
- Transgender offenders
- Veterans (in relation to Ministry of Justice policy areas)
- Mental capacity and Office of the Public Guardian
- Criminal Cases Review Commission
- Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme
Ed Argar has been the MP for Charnwood since 2015. After taking a degree in history at Oxford, he spent almost a decade working for private sector businesses including Hedra, Serco, and Mouchel in management consultancy and communications jobs, as well as previously having spent four years as Political Adviser to the then Shadow Foreign Secretary focusing on Middle East policy and travelling extensively in the region. His work for Serco was as a justice lobbyist and David Gauke has had to declare that the MoJ will take steps to avoid any conflict of interests. Mr Argar’s interests are listed as: Department for International Development; Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Department of Health; Department for Education; Home Office; Developing Countries: Contracts; Yemen, Algeria and children asylum seekers.
Ed Argar is not on Twitter.
Lord Keen – Advocate General for Scotland and MoJ spokeperson for the Lords
Richard Sanderson Keen has a long-standing involvement in the law having been an advocate (the equivalent of a barrister in England and Wales) in Scotland since 1980. He was chairman of the Scottish Conservative Party in 2014 and was ennobled in June 2015 when he became Advocate General for Scotland. He was the Lords spokesperson for the Home Office from April 2016 until moving to the MoJ later that year.
As an advocate he was involved in many high level cases representing Rangers Football Club and Andy Coulson among others.
Lord Keen is not on Twitter.