Higher education minister Andrea Jenkyns reappointed to DfE

Announcement clears way for MP to remain in post, although ministerial responsibilities are yet to be confirmed

September 8, 2022

Andrea Jenkyns appeared poised to stay on as higher education minister in the Westminster government after being reappointed to the Department for Education.

Ms Jenkyns had been widely regarded as a caretaker in the post after being appointed to succeed Michelle Donelan amid the death throes of Boris Johnson’s administration.

But a government statement said that the Morley and Outwood MP had been reappointed as a parliamentary undersecretary of state in the DfE, clearing the way for her to keep the job.

Ministerial responsibilities within the DfE were yet to be confirmed at the time of writing, allowing for the possibility that Ms Jenkyns might be reallocated to another brief.

Alongside new education secretary Kit Malthouse, appointments to the DfE announced since Liz Truss became prime minister also include Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst.

But while Mr Malthouse might be regarded as a compromise candidate by universities compared with reported alternatives Ms Donelan and one-time Conservative leadership hopeful Kemi Badenoch, vice-chancellors are unlikely to regard Ms Jenkyns as a natural ally: she hails from the right of the Tory party and was a fervent supporter of Brexit.

She instantly hit the headlines following her initial announcement in July when footage emerged of her putting her middle finger up to a crowd of spectators who had gathered outside Downing Street on the day Mr Johnson announced his departure.

Defending her action, she said she had reached the “end of her tether” after years of abuse and seven death threats and that a “baying mob” had been “insulting” MPs at the gates of Downing Street.

Teachers’ unions claimed that the gesture would make it harder to “maintain common decency in schools”.

While Jacob Rees-Mogg has been confirmed as business secretary, universities were also awaiting confirmation of who the new science minister will be.

Both Jackie Doyle-Price and Nusrat Ghani have been named as ministers in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, but their responsibilities were yet to be confirmed.


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