DETR ministers wait for more detailed portfolios

30 Jul 98
The ministerial reshuffle led to several changes in the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR).

31 July 1998

Despite some whispers that local government and housing minister Hilary Armstrong might be a casualty of Tony Blair's ministerial clear-out, she held on to her position in the department.

Nick Raynsford, who currently has responsibility for London and construction, also remained at the DETR.

Joining the department this week were Alan Meale and Lord Whitty. Dr John Reid has also replaced Gavin Strang, a transport minister, although the position is no longer in the Cabinet. Lady Hayman and Angela Eagle were also moved out of the department, the former joining the health department while Ms Eagle went to social security.

It is not yet clear how responsibilities will be divided among ministers and whether the portfolios of Mr Raynsford and Ms Armstrong will remain the same.In the Department for Education and Employment, Estelle Morris was promoted from under secretary of state to minister for school standards.

She replaced Stephen Byers, who became chief secretary to the Treasury. Charles Clarke, MP for Norwich South, stepped into Ms Morris's shoes, while Leeds East MP George Mudie became under secretary of state for lifelong learning. Mr Mudie replaced Kim Howells, who moved to the trade and industry department.

But the most high-profile change in the department was the appointment of Margaret Hodge, who relinquished her position as joint chairman of the Commons education and employment select committee to become under secretary of state for employment and equal opportunities.

Alan Howarth, who was responsible for the flagship welfare-to-work initiative, has been transferred to the culture, media and sport department.

In the Treasury Patricia Hewitt replaced Helen Liddell as economic secretary, while Alan Milburn, who had been widely-tipped for promotion to the Cabinet, remained a minister at the health department, as did Tessa Jowell.

The controversial Geoffrey Robinson is secure in his post as the paymaster general for the time being.

The housing benefit review will now be taken forward by Alistair Darling, the new secretary of state for social security, following the much-publicised sacking of Harriet Harman and the resignation of Frank Field.

Angela Eagle moved into the department from the DETR to become under secretary of state.

Stephen Timms also became a junior minister, while Patricia Hollis remained the department's under-secretary in the Lords.


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