Junior ranks shift at DFEE

July 31, 1998

IT WAS all change among junior ranks at Westminster this week, as Tony Blair unveiled the results of his reshuffle.

Minister of state John Battle dropped science from his portfolio, handing the brief over to Lord Sainsbury, who joins the Department of Trade and Industry as a junior minister. Mr Battle retains industry and energy. Although unconfirmed by the DTI as The THES went to press, the move was announced by Baroness Blackstone, who remains as further and higher education minister.

Kim Howells, lifelong learning and higher education minister, moved to the Department for Trade and Industry. He was replaced by George Mudie, a former trade union official and deputy chief whip. Mr Mudie was elected for Leeds East in 1992.

Scottish Office minister for education and industry Brian Wilson was promoted to minister of state at the DTI. Helen Liddell is the new minister at the Scottish Office. Peter Mandelson took over at the DTI, replacing Margaret Beckett.

Alan Howarth, employment and equal opportunities minister, was moved to arts minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. He is to be replaced by Margaret Hodge, former joint chair of the education and employment select committee. Ms Hodge (Barking), whose responsibilities will include the New Deal for the unemployed, must resign as joint chair of the committee.

David Blunkett's position as secretary of state for education and employment was always safe. There were rumours of a possible move for Baroness Blackstone. But having piloted the controversial Teaching and Higher Education Act through the House of Lords, she remains in post.

Stephen Byers was promoted from minister of state to Treasury chief secretary replacing Alistair Darling who became social security secretary. Estelle Morris (Birmingham Yardley), ex-teacher and latterly school standards minister, replaced Mr Byers.

Ms Morris is replaced by Charles Clarke, a former president of the National Union of Students and a maths lecturer. He became MP for Norwich South last year.

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