Jeremy Wright is the UK’s new culture secretary, as Matt Hancock steps down to become health secretary in the latest in a frenzied Brexit-related Government reshuffle.
Prime minister Theresa May has had to do a snap reshuffle of her top team, after her Brexit strategy triggered a string of resignations, including David Davis quitting as Brexit secretary and Boris Johnson quitting as foreign secretary.
Matt Hancock becomes health secretary
This has resulted in health secretary Jeremy Hunt moving over to become foreign secretary, and culture secretary Matt Hancock leaving his post to fill Hunt’s shoes as health secretary.
Wright has now been appointed new head of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
Wright’s legal background
Wright studied law at Exeter University, and is a trained barrister. He leaves his role as attorney general, the chief legal adviser to the Government, to take on the job of culture secretary.
He has held this role for four years, which also meant he oversaw the Crown Prosecution Service and Serious Fraud Office.
He originally joined Government in 2005 when he became MP for Rugby and Kenilworth, when the Conservatives won the seat back from Labour.
Prior to this, he was a member of the justice committee and formed an all-party parliamentary group on dementia, which he chaired until 2010.
In 2012, he went on to work at the Ministry of Justice, and was responsible for the prison service, probation, rehabilitation and sentencing, before becoming attorney general in 2014.
Fourth culture secretary in two years
Wright is the fourth MP appointed to culture secretary in two years, following Hancock, Karen Bradley and John Whittingdale, who have all served short-lived terms as heads of the DCMS.
Hancock was in the role for six months, having been appointed in May’s cabinet reshuffle in January this year. However, he has been part of the DCMS for two years, previously holding the role of digital minister, and before this digital and culture minister.
The DCMS has seen changes in the last few years, when “digital” became part of its remit in 2017. The departmental move to focus more heavily on digital, technology and the internet has been seen as detrimental to the creative industries by some organisations, with the Creative Industries Federation previously saying that it “appeared to downgrade the importance of the arts”.
Wright not a Tweeter
While culture secretary, Hancock focused on areas including intellectual property and copyright, and looked to strengthen European Union (EU) and UK laws to protect artists’ and designers’ work.
He also promoted areas such as video game production, animation, theatre and children’s television through tax reliefs, and planned to put measures in place to increase the diversity of the creative industries.
Since being appointed yesterday, Wright has received criticism online for his inactive social media use, particularly Twitter, given that digital will be a big part of his remit.
A more in-depth interview with the new culture secretary will follow on Design Week soon.