Nadine Dorries promotion 'shows you don't have to be boring to succeed in politics', jokes David Davis

New Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries’s Cabinet promotion “demonstrates you do not need to be a boring conformist to get on this world”, Yorkshire MP David Davis has said.

Nadine Dorries is the new Culture Secretary

The Haltemprice and Howden Tory MP said he was delighted at his friend’s promotion to Secretary of State at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

“She demonstrates that you do not need to be a boring conformist to get on in this world,” Mr Davis said as Ms Dorries made her first appearance in Parliament in her new role since being appointed to replace Oliver Dowden.

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Ms Dorries is a bestselling author and a former reality television contestant who appeared on I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here in 2012.

But her appointment has been perceived in some quarters as an escalation of the Government’s so-called “culture war” after previous comments berating “left-wing snowflakes” for “killing comedy” and “dumbing down panto”.

Last year she described the BBC as favouring “strident, very left wing, often hypocritical and frequently patronising views that turn people away”.

In her new role, among the major projects on her desk will be the Government consultation on the privatisation of Channel 4, the Culture Recovery Fund and resuscitating the industry post-Covid, as well as the ongoing debate over the future of the BBC.

Ms Dorries told Parliament she was delighted to be the new Culture, Media and Sport. Secretary

“This is one of the most important departments in Government, economically, socially and culturally, and I am determined to ensure that our sectors bounce back stronger than ever from Covid,” she said.

“We continue to support them through this stage of the recovery, particularly through our £750 million events insurance scheme. London Fashion Week and London Tech Week are back with a bang. The creative and tech industries are British powerhouses, and I am committed to driving them to even greater heights.”

But she faced comments about her “long anti-gay rights voting record” as she made her first Commons appearance since becoming Culture Secretary.

The SNP’s culture spokesman John Nicolson joked it was “just as well there are no homosexuals in the arts sector” as he made reference to the issue when welcoming Ms Dorries to her new post.

Mr Nicolson told MPs: “I’ve been glancing at her oeuvre. Now is perhaps not the time to discuss the alarming dumbing down in panto which she identified in this once highbrow artform, or indeed to ponder her long anti-gay rights voting record.

“Just as well there are no homosexuals in the arts sector.”

He went on to ask Ms Dorries about steps being taken to protect those in Afghanistan who fear for their lives and the future of the country’s culture, including women standing up for their rights in street protests, which he described as “extraordinarily brave”.

Ms Dorries replied: “I thank my honourable friend for his warm and kind words of welcome.”

She said: “Of course we all stand with the women of Afghanistan. And I know he’s been looking through my long tweet history of 20 years, or whenever I first went onto Twitter, and therefore he will know that I have repeatedly supported the women of Afghanistan and will continue to do so.”

Ms Dorries earlier spoke of her support for Liverpool Football Club despite a family involvement in city rivals Everton. “My great grandfathers were founding members of Everton football club, although I am a Liverpool supporter, so I declare my interest on day one.”

Elsewhere, Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said Labour’s “gloating” at Gavin Williamson being sacked as education secretary during the Government reshuffle was “ungallant”.

During business questions, shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire said: “I am glad to see (Mr Rees-Mogg) still in his place.

“There were rumours that it might have been the member for South Staffordshire (Mr Williamson) opposite me, he has been told to ‘shut up and go away’ and I am relieved therefore, that I don’t have to spend time today explaining that I am the member for Bristol West and not the member for Ealing Central and Acton.”

Mr Rees-Mogg replied: “I think she was ungallant in relation to my friend the member for South Staffordshire, who has been a very hard-working and diligent public servant over many years, and I think it is inelegant not to thank people for the service that they have provided after a reshuffle, rather than gloating.”

New levelling up minister sets out her vision

MP Kemi Badenoch has been appointed Minister for Levelling Up - hours after setting out her vision for the Government’s flagship policy during a Westminster Hall debate.

Ms Badenoch is moving from exchequer secretary to the Treasury to the position of minister of state at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government where she will work for Michael Gove on levelling up.

It came after she gave the Government’s response in a debate on Wednesday night led by Yorkshire MP Dan Jarvis about the levelling up agenda.

Ms Badenoch said that a question about what exactly levelling up means from Labour MP Pat McFadden is one she has heard “again and again”.

“I feel that we repeat ourselves, but people still do not take it in,” she said. “Levelling up is the chance for the Government to improve life chances and everyday life for people in underperforming places. Those places have not been underperforming since 2010 - they have been underperforming for decades, under successive Governments.”

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