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Government Reshuffle Briefing

By November 17, 2023No Comments

This week, the Prime Minister performed what is likely to be his last major government reshuffle before the next election. Some key posts relating to BIVDA activity, including the Secretary of State for Health, saw changes.

We have written to all new ministers in the Departments of: Health and Social Care, Business and Trade, and Science, Innovation and Technology, congratulating them on their new briefs and expressing our eagerness to work with them in future.

Victoria Atkins has moved from the Treasury to become the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, replacing Steve Barclay who has moved to DEFRA. Ms Atkins is the fifth MP to hold the role in as many years and this important position marks her first entry to the Cabinet. She is a staunch ally of the Prime Minister and a strong communicator – assets which will prove useful to Mr Sunak as he heads into an election year.

Two of the most senior health ministers were also changed by the Prime Minister. Andrew Stephenson has taken over from Will Quince as Minister for Health and Secondary Care, while former Tory leadership contender Andrea Leadsom now occupies the Minister for Primary Care and Public Health role from Neil O’Brien MP.

Mr Stephenson has proved a reliable operator in government, demonstrated by holding ten ministerial jobs in six departments since being elected to office. He has been a strong advocate for local health services in his constituency of Pendle and, in a personal capacity, is a Community First Responder. He has broadly supported the Government’s health agenda and is therefore considered a dependable continuity candidate.

Ms Leadsom is a senior figure in the party, having served in Boris Johnson and Theresa May’s Cabinets and possesses some experience in health from her stint as the Government’s Early Years Health Adviser to lead a review into improving health outcomes for babies and young children in 2020.

Longstanding life sciences advocate in Parliament and Minister for Science, Research and Innovation George Freeman stepped down from his post. We have reached out to Mr Freeman to thank him for his efforts in government and stated our excitement to work with him from the backbenches. Andrew Griffith has ascended to the role, having held financial and trade ministerial jobs since becoming an MP. He has extensive professional experience in finance and business and will therefore hopefully be an immense benefit to UK life sciences companies.

Joining Mr Griffith in the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology is Saqib Bhatti, who now holds the title of Science, Innovation and Technology Minister. His brief will be the same as his predecessor, focusing on technology and the digital economy. He will also remain as the Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party for Business.

Lastly, Greg Hands has been removed as Chairman of the Conservative Party and joins the Department of Business and Trade as the International Trade Minister. Mr Hands has previously held this position under the previous three Prime Ministers, having only left this post in February 2023. He is seen as a safe pair of hands owing to his vast experience – holding ministerial roles virtually uninterrupted since the Conservatives entered government in 2010.