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Wright replaces Hancock at DCMS

July 10, 2018

By Colin Mann

Jeremy Wright, previously Attorney General in the UK Government, has been appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, replacing Matt Hancock as part of a reshuffle by Prime Minister Theresa May following the resignation of two senior members of her Cabinet after disagreement over her handling of the Brexit negotiations.

Hancock has been appointed Health Secretary in place of Jeremy Hunt, who succeeds Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary. Hancock  was appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on  January 8th 2018 when his predecessor Karen Bradley was appointed Northern Ireland Secretary. Hancock was appointed Minister of State responsible for digital policy at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in July 2016, while Wright has no previous involvement in the Department.

Wright, a Queen’s Counsel, is Member of Parliament for Kenilworth and Southam, having first been elected to Parliament in May 2005. He served as a Government Whip between May 2010 and September 2012, being appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, where he served until July 2014, upon becoming Attorney General.

In terms of involvement in his new brief, his website says of his extra-curricular activities: “In my very limited free time I try to play golf and enjoy watching cricket. In fact I like playing cricket too but I am so useless no-one will play with me. I enjoy listening to music and I used to play the trumpet, but I can barely get a note out of the instrument these days. I also enjoy travelling, particularly to the United States.”

Hancock had been expected to deliver a ruling this week on whether 21st Century Fox’s bid for the 61 per cent of Sky that it does not already own will be allowed to proceed. Wright may need further time to assess the matter.

It would seem that Wright does not have a Twitter account, although his Facebook page was updated on the morning of July 11th with the following: “Very excited to be starting a new job this morning as Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, a department whose work has a huge impact on our heritage, the things we enjoy now and on our national future.”

The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses across England and Wales, has welcomed Wright as new Culture Secretary.

CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said: “Rural businesses and communities deserve a better connected countryside. More and more services are coming online but rural areas are still digitally disadvantaged by poor broadband and mobile coverage. We welcome the appointment of Jeremy Wright as the new Culture Secretary. With his digital team, he must continue pushing for a fully connected countryside so that people who live, work and visit there can enjoy the same advantages as in towns and cities, with the operators providing genuine national coverage. The future of the rural economy depends on fast, affordable and reliable connections. The CLA will keep up the pressure on Government, holding to account the promise of a Universal Service Obligation of 10Mbps by 2020 and forcing mobile network operators to resolve poor signal and mobile ‘not-spots’ to deliver 4G for all.”

Upon hearing the news of Matt Hancock’s move and Jeremy Wright’s appointment to DCMS, Malcolm Corbett CEO of the Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA) said: “Matt Hancock was a breath of fresh air at DCMS and worked hard to instigate some really important policy changes that will continue to benefit the country for many years to come.”

“We now look forward to working closely with the new Secretary of State and building a productive relationship with him as we had with Matt. INCA’s members are committed to helping meet the Government’s targets for new full fibre, 5G and other wireless networks to create the a truly 21st century, future-proofed digital infrastructure.”

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