The new Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, who holds the Women and Equalities brief, voted against equal marriage. Photo: Getty
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Nicky Morgan's opposition to equal marriage causes further headaches for the PM

Nicky Morgan, the new Education Secretary, is also Women and Equalities minister. But responsibility for same-sex marriage has trickled down to a junior minister because of her opposition to the flagship policy.

Nicky Morgan, previously a Treasury minister, has today been promoted by David Cameron to Education Secretary. It wasn't long ago that Morgan was hoisted from the junior ministerial ranks to the role of Financial Secretary to the Treasury. Back in April, she was shuffled upwards to the Treasury replace Sajid Javid, who took the position of Culture Secretary when Maria Miller resigned. She also inherited Miller's other brief: Women and Equalities.

Just hours after this decision, the problems started to pile up for the PM. Morgan, a committed Christian, opposed same-sex marriage, and so how could she represent Equalities? I remember being at the Prime Minister's spokesman's briefing that day, and the journalists beginning to circle. Was Morgan – whose voting record makes her "moderately against" policy in favour of gay rights generally – a minister simply for straight women then, as Helen Lewis wrote at the time? The PM's spokesman squirmed, and there was some sort of fudge where Javid would head Equalities and Morgan would keep Women, but it was never wholly clear.

Well, the problem has returned. There is still the concern that Morgan, who retains her Women and Equalities brief as she is enters the DfE, voted against same-sex marriage. This is clear from the role the PM has given Nick Boles, the former planning minister. Boles is going to be both a BIS and Education minister, and part of his brief will be equal marriage.

Here's the PM's tweet with his ingenious solution:

A bit of an odd set of responsibilities, and a clearly botched-together solution highlighting the ultimate lack of importance Cameron and his circle lend to the Women and Equalities role.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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