Who’s who at the MoJ? (Updated 29 Dec 2020)
The first reshuffle under Boris Johnson was an interesting one from a justice perspective. While the Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland and Prisons & Probation Minister Lucy Frazer remained the same, considerable interest was raised by giving the existing MoJ Under Secretary of State additional responsibilities at the Home Office, while giving the existing Home Office Minister for State for Crime & Policing other responsibilities at the MoJ. There is no clear public rationale for this move, but it did serve to spark up the rumours of possible plans to scrap the MoJ again.
Here are my traditional short profiles of the Ministers alongside their roles and responsibilities.
Robert Buckland QC – Justice Secretary
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.
Lucy Frazer – Minister for State
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 (a previous Justice Secretary) Parliamentary Private Secretary before getting her first ministerial appointment at the MoJ in January 2018 when she was responsible for court services. After 11 weeks as Solicitor General, she returns to the MoJ with responsibility for Prisons and Probation. Her full set of responsibilities include:
- Prison operations, policy, reform and industrial relations
- Probation services, policy, reform and industrial relations
- Public protection (including Parole Board, IPPs and Serious Further Offences)
- Offender health
- Female offenders
- Transgender offenders
- Veteran offenders
- Foreign national offenders (joint work with Chris Philp MP)
- Offender rehabilitation and release
- Reducing Reoffending (joint work with Kit Malthouse MP)
- ROTL and HDC
- Electronic monitoring (joint work with Kit Malthouse MP)
- Youth Justice
You can follow her on Twitter @lucyfrazermp
Kit Malthouse – Minister of State for Crime and Policing
Mr Malthouse attended Sudley County Primary school and then Liverpool College before studying Politics and Economics at Newcastle University. He is a chartered accountant, founding a midlands-based finance company, which he now chairs.
He was a councillor on Westminster Council from 1998 to 2006.
He was a member of the London Assembly from 2008 to 2016. He served as Deputy Mayor for Policing 2008 to 2012 (workign closely with Boris Johnson who was Mayor of London at the time) and Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise from 2012 to 2015.
Kit Malthouse was appointed Minister of State in the Home Office and Ministry of Justice on 14 February 2020.
He was previously Minister of State (Minister of State for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service) for the Home Office from 25 July 2019 to 14 February 2020 and Minister of State in the Ministry of Justice on 14 February 2020.
He was previously Minister of State for Housing from 9 July 2018 to 25 July 2019.
He was previously Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance at the Department of Work and Pensions from 9 January 2018 to 9 July 2018. He was elected as Conservative MP for North West Hampshire in May 2015.
You can follow him on Twitter @kitmalthouse
Chris Philp – Under Secretary of State
Mr Philp was promoted to the MoJ on 11 September 2019; his responsibilities at the MoJ are:
At the Home Office he has a parallel set of responsibilities:
- compliance environment
- foreign national offenders
- illegal immigration strategy
- overseas development aid
- Immigration Enforcement
- animals (illegal wildlife trade)
- sponsorship of Border Force and Immigration Enforcement directorates
- supporting Lords Minister on corporate affairs, including the Spending Review and Budget
Chris Philp has been the MP for South Croydon since 2015. After taking a degree in physics at Oxford, he worked for McKinself before setting up a number of businesses, including a HGV trainign provider with former MoJ Minister Sam Gyimah, and the Next Big Thing charity. He was a member of the Treasury Select Committee between July 2015 and May 2017.
Alex Chalk – Under Secretary of State
Alex Chalk MP is a new and extra appointment to the MoJ who receives no additional remuneration for his role. He has been the MP for Cheltenham since 2015, before which he had a career as a barrister specialising in counter-terrorism, homicide and serious fraud cases. He served on the Justice Select Committee. He is a Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Pro Bono and Public Legal Education; Vice-Chair of the APPG on Cycling; Vice-Chair of the APPG on Bees; Vice-Chair of the APPG on Eating Disorders; and a member of the APPG for Highways Maintenance, amongst others.
His responsibilities at the MoJ are:
- Family law and justice
- Domestic abuse and violence (MoJ lead)
- Legal aid
- Legal support
- Mental capacity and the Office of the Public Guardian
- Race disparity in the justice system
- Coroners, burials, inquests and inquiries
- Miscarriages of justice
- Criminal law
- Human Rights
- Devolved Administrations and devolution
- Independent Monitoring Authority
- Shadow Commons minister for Lord Keen’s portfolio
- Supporting the Secretary of State on future EU relationship and international business
- Parliamentary Minister
You can follow him on Twiiter @Alexchalkchelt
David Wolfson QC – Under Secretary of State
Mr Wolfson was appointed to replace Lord Keen (who resigned over the government’s willingness to breach international laws relating to Brexit in September) on 22 December 2020.