PM’s reshuffle sees Dorries replace Dowden as Culture Secretary

Nadine Dorries has been promoted to Culture Secretary to replace Oliver Dowden, who has become co-chairman of the Conservative Party amid Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle.

Former nurse Dorries joins from the Department of Health and Social Care, where she was appointed as a junior minister in July 2019 and then promoted to minister of state in May last year. Both roles focused on patient safety, suicide prevention and mental health.

The Culture Secretary brief, which includes overseeing the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Office for Civil Society, is Dorries’ first cabinet position.

Dorries has been a Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire since 2005.

She attracted controversy in 2013 for failing to declare her fee for appearing on the show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! She later apologised to MPs over the incident.

The promotion of Dowden from the culture brief to co-chair of the Conservative Party, comes days after he sparked a backlash in the voluntary sector when he criticised charities that sought to tackle historic links with slavery and racism.

One of Dorries’ priorities is to oversee the appointment of a new Charity Commission chair. Dowden had said the next chair of the regulator needs to “refocus charities on their important founding missions”.

Charity sector reaction

The NCVO said that it looks “forward to working with” Dorries “to strengthen the work of charities and volunteers”.

It stressed that charities “have a huge role to play in the nation’s recovery and levelling up agenda”.

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