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Digital minister Margot James quits after Brexit vote

James voted against the government in an attempt to stop the next Prime Minister from suspending Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit

Digital minister Margot James has resigned her post, after voting against the government to prevent the next Prime Minister from suspending Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.

James was appointed digital minister in January 2018 after the previous incumbent, Matt Hancock, was promoted to secretary of state at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in a Cabinet reshuffle.

James had previously been minister for small business, consumers and corporate responsibility at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy from July 2016, before taking over as minister for digital and creative industries.

Her remit covered issues such as broadband, telecoms, broadcasting, creative industries, cyber security, tech startups and the tech industry.

The future of the ministerial post is unclear, with a new Prime Minister expected to be appointed next week – Boris Johnson is the clear favourite – who is likely to appoint his own Cabinet anyway.

James has worked closely with the tech sector during her time in the job. TechUK head of policy Vinous Ali said in a tweet: “A real shame to lose Margot James who has been an excellent champion for the tech sector as minister for digital. We look forward to continuing to work with her from the backbenches.”

During her time as digital minister, James has been involved with moves to promote artificial intelligence, negotiations with the EU over data sharing arrangements after Brexit, and attempts to encourage more young people to work in technology.

She has also been involved with an initiative to support collaboration on 5G mobile network roll-out, bringing together councils, landowners and industry to work on planning challenges.

In the vote in the House of Commons, James joined other Conservative Party rebels in approving an amendment to the Northern Ireland Bill that was designed to ensure that Parliament can be forced to sit in the run up to the 31 October deadline when the UK is due to leave the EU. Boris Johnson has suggested that he would be willing to suspend Parliament over that period to force through a no-deal Brexit.

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