Damian Hinds has been appointed the UK’s new education secretary in a Cabinet reshuffle.
Mr Hinds, the Conservative MP for East Hampshire, who was formerly a junior work and pensions minister, took on the post after Justine Greening, his predecessor at the Department for Education, left the government.
Reports indicated that Ms Greening opted to step down after refusing an appointment as work and pensions secretary.
Mr Hinds, who studied philosophy, politics and economics at the University of Oxford, tweeted that he was “delighted” by the appointment. “Looking forward to working with the great teachers [and] lecturers in our schools, colleges [and] universities giving people the opportunities to make the most of their lives,” he said.
Challenges in his in-tray will include the government’s review of student funding in England, the row over vice-chancellors’ pay, and arrangements for student mobility post-Brexit.
Mr Hinds, who was a member of the education select committee between 2010 and 2012, is a former chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility.
Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said that, when he had been a special adviser to former universities minister Lord Willetts, Mr Hinds “raised social mobility more assiduously than any other Tory backbencher I can think of”.
Writing on Twitter, Ms Greening said that it had been an “honour [and a] privilege” to serve in government. “Social mobility matters to me [and] our country more than my ministerial career,” she said.
A reshuffle of lower-ranked ministerial posts, potentially including Jo Johnson, the universities minister, was set to take place on Tuesday.
Greg Clark, the business secretary, who oversees the UK government’s activities relating to research, kept his job in the reshuffle.