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:
Nick Boles is Minister of State for the Business & Education depts. Part of his brief will be equal marriage implementation. #Reshuffle
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) July 15, 2014
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.