Denham to leave universities post

June 5, 2009

John Denham is leaving the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills to become Communities Secretary, according to the BBC.

Mr Denham, who has been Universities Secretary since the formation of DIUS in 2007, will replace Hazel Blears following her resignation from the Cabinet.

Downing Street would not confirm the report, but said a full statement would be issued this afternoon.

Mr Denham was elected as MP for Southampton Itchen in 1992, following 12 years as a local councillor. His first government post came in 1997 when Tony Blair’s Labour Government came to power.

He rose rapidly through the ranks, serving as a minister in the departments of Social Security, Health and the Home Office, but resigned from the Government over the war in Iraq in 2003.

During a period on the backbenches, he chaired the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Unconfirmed rumours have also been circulating that the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills will be merged with the Department of Children, Schools and Families and that the responsibility for science research funding will be moved into the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

The BBC was told that speculation on DIUS being merged with DCSF was "wide of the mark".

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