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Changes for digital government in Theresa May's reshuffle

Matt Hancock takes over as DCMS secretary of state, while Caroline Nokes says goodbye to her role as the minister responsible for digital at Cabinet Office

Prime minister Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle has led to several changes in digital government responsibilities.

The prime minister’s latest reshuffle has seen Matt Hancock being promoted from digital minister at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) to secretary of state. 

The move is a significant step up for Hancock, who left his role as Cabinet Office minister in July 2016 to take up the position of digital minister at DCMS.

Former DCMS secretary Karen Bradley has been appointed secretary of state for Northern Ireland.

TechUK CEO Julian David said Hancock’s appointment “comes at a critical time for the tech industry”, with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force later this year, a rapidly digitising economy and continued uncertainty over Brexit.

Over at the Cabinet Office, there are more digital changes. The minister responsible for digital government, Caroline Nokes, has been shuffled out of the department, instead taking on a role as minister of state for immigration at the Home Office.

The reshuffle means we will see a fourth minister responsible for digital in the space of two years.

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Nokes was given ministerial responsibility for the digital agenda across Whitehall as a result of the July 2017 election. At the time, critics were concerned that giving a junior minister with no digital experience responsibility for digital government signalled a lack of commitment.

During her time at Cabinet Office, Nokes only made one significant speech on digital government, and was given little time to prove herself before being moved on. 

David Lidington has taken over as Cabinet Office minister from Damian Green, who was ousted from government before Christmas. However, whether he will take on responsibility for digital government or whether it will be given to another junior minister is yet to be announced. 

TechUK’s Julian David said Lidington’s appointment was an excellent choice in a department vital for UK tech.

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