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New Prime Minister Theresa May Sacks Culture Secretary John Whittingdale

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Karen Bradley is new culture minister as John Whittingdale leaves cabinet after 14 months, while Ed Vaizey stays put as digital economy minister

John Whittingdale has been ousted as culture minister, but new Prime Minister Theresa May has not heeded calls by one ISP to replace Ed Vaizey as minister for the digital economy in her cabinet reshuffle.

May became leader earlier this week and has appointed junior minister Karen Bradley as Whittingdale’s replacement. Bradley, who was elected as MP in 2010, worked in the Home Office and is a trained accountant.

Whittingdale only assumed the position in May last year following the Conservative’s victory in the 2015 General Election. The former private secretary to Margaret Thatcher has previously served as chair of the Culture, Media and Sport parliamentary select committee.

New culture secretary

John Whittingdale 1Previously a vocal critic of the television licence, his 14 month tenure was characterised by a major review of the BBC and a new funding agreement that saw the end of the fee being ‘top-sliced’ to fund government broadband projects like Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

However as part of the settlement, the corporation will have to fund the cost of free licences for over-75s. The task of implementing any reform will now fall to Bradley.

Whittingdale also oversaw the appointment of a new Information Commissioner and suggested the government could take action to stop ad blocking.

“[It] has been a privilege to serve as Culture Secretary,” Whittingdale said on Twitter. “I wish my successor every success & will continue to support creative industries.”

Entanet had wanted May to find a new Digital Economy Minister on the basis that Vaizey had failed to engage with industry and was more ‘artsy’ than ‘technical’. Stopping short of a new ‘Ministry of Communications’, the company suggested Baroness Joanna Shields get the job.

However rather than getting the sack, Vaizey has been appointed to the Privy Council.

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