Charles Hendry this week became the Shadow Minister for Higher Education in a mini reshuffle prior to the general election, expected in May.
Mr Hendry, who has been Conservative MP for Wealdon since 1992, was previously responsible for careers and youth services within Shadow Education Secretary Tim Collins' team.
The move cuts the size of the Tory education team by one. His predecessor, Chris Grayling, has been moved to health.
A spokesman for the Conservatives said: "There's a general election coming up and we want to be a lean, mean fighting machine."