New road ministers take office

26/07/2019
Chris Ames

Boris Johnson has appointed two new ministers of state, Chris Heaton-Harris MP and George Freeman MP, at the Department for Transport (DfT).

Minister of state is the highest rank of minister below transport secretary Grant Shapps. The former sole holder of the post, Michael Ellis MP, has become solicitor general.

At the time of publication, the DfT website did not state the specific responsibilities of either new minister but did state that Mr Heaton-Harris holds the role previously held by Mr Ellis, who was previously responsible for roads and road safety.

On Thursday, figures in the sector called on Mr Johnson to make road safety a priority after new statistics showed the number of deaths on Britain’s roads remaining at the same level – just below 1,800 annually, as it has been for most of the decade.

Mr Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry, was a parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department for Exiting the European Union from July 2018 to April 2019.

He was Comptroller of HM Household (government whip) from January to July 2018, having previously been vice chamberlain of HM Household (also a government whip) from June 2017.

Mr Heaton-Harris was made an assistant government whip in July 2016.

Mr Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk, was parliamentary under secretary of state for life sciences at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department of Health from July 2014 until July 2016. He was appointed to the post of prime minister’s UK trade envoy in 2013.

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