On Monday I profiled the new Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor David Gauke. Today’s post looks at the rest of the new ministerial team.
Who’s who at the MoJ?
Not only did Theresa May replace David Lidington with David Gauke but she promoted two of the MoJ’s junior ministers too, Dominic Raab was promoted to housing minister while Sam Gyimah was promoted to Universities Minister, Minister of State at the Department for Education. Their replacements are Rory Stewart as Minister of State and Lucy Frazer, whose role is not yet specified. Here’s the new team in full:
Roles and responsibilities
As you can see, Rory Stewart is Minister of State replacing Dominic Raab. The roles and responsibilities of Phillip Lee and Lucy Frazer have not been clarified. To the outsider, it would make sense if Mr Lee continues to be Minister for Victims, Youth and Family Justice and Ms Frazer takes over as Minister for Prisons and Probation (the post previously held by Sam Gyimah). However, it is entirely possible that roles will be re-allocated. I have requested this information from the MoJ and will update the post on receipt. Finally, Lord Keen of Elie remains MoJ spokesperson in the House of Lords. I have included the new ministers’ Twitter feeds in case you want to follow them.
Rory Stewart – Minister of State
Roderick James Nugent “Rory” Stewart, (born 3 January 1973) is a British diplomat, politician, and writer. Stewart was a senior coalition official in Iraq in 2003–04. He is known for his book about this experience, The Prince of the Marshes (also published under the title Occupational Hazards), and for his 2002 walk across Afghanistan (one part of a larger walk across Asia), which served as the basis for another book, The Places in Between. In July 2008, he was appointed Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights at Harvard University.
Since May 2010, he has been the Member of Parliament for Penrith and The Border; he is a former Chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee and moved from being Minister of State at the Department for International Development and as Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
The Parliament UK website lists his political interests as local democracy, rural affairs, broadband and foreign affairs. He led a review on the reasons why a number of British veterans become criminal offenders after returning to civilian life but stepped down before it was complete when he was appointed Chair of the Defence Committee. Many commentators were surprised that he was moved from a department where he had considerable expertise to one where he has none.
Lucy Frazer – Role as yet unspecified
Lucy Frazer (born 17 May 1972) studied at Cambridge where she was President of the Cambridge Union. She worked as a barrister in commercial law, and went on to become a QC at the age of forty. She won the South East Cambridgeshire seat in the 2015 general election with 28,845 votes (48.5%), a margin of victory of 16,837. and was elected to sit on the Education Select Committee in the same year. She also sat on the Policing and Crime Bill Committee in 2016. Ms Frazer was also David Lidington’s (the previous Justice Secretary) Parliamentary Private Secretary and sat in on a number of his meetings which will make her perhaps the best prepared of the new ministerial team.
Phillip Lee – Currently victims, youth and family justice
Phillip Lee is a qualified GP who was elected to parliament in 2010; he continues to work as a GP (for about 20-30 hours per month, see details on the theyworkforyou site), and he remains the sole Minister to remain in place at Petty France following this reshuffle. We must wait and see whether he retains responsibility for victims, youth and family justice.
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.
Overall, the main problem facing the new MoJ team is the lack of continuity. In addition to frequent changes of Justice Secretary (5 postholders in the last three years), there is also a new Minister of State in Rory Stewart with little or no apparent knowledge of criminal justice and Sam Gyimah, the prisons and probation minister has moved on. Both David Gauke (solicitor) and Lucy Frazer (barrister and QC) are legally trained but had careers in commercial law.
Given the current parlous state of the prison and probation services, it’s a shame that a political reshuffle has delayed the momentum of reform and snuffed out again any chance of badly needed leadership in the justice arena.
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