Former health minister Nadine Dorries has been appointed as culture secretary during Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle, assuming responsibility for the UK’s digital strategy.
Dorries is the 11th culture secretary in ten years to go through the revolving door at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS). She takes over from Oliver Dowden who has moved on to become Co-Conservative party Chairman after 18 months at DCMS.
An ally of the Prime Minister and a vocal supporter of Brexit, Dorries entered parliament at the 2005 General Election as MP for Mid-Bedfordshire before becoming a junior health minister in 2020.
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New culture secretary
As a bestselling author, Dorries will be familiar with some of the elements of her wide-ranging brief. However, her remit also includes the rollout of full fibre broadband and 5G as well as wider digital policies.
This includes cybersecurity, despite the fact that in 2017 she admitted that she regularly shares her login credentials with her staff – a practice slammed by experts.
“My staff log onto my computer on my desk with my login everyday. Including interns on exchange programmes,” she tweeted at the time. “All my staff have my login details. A frequent shout when I manage to sit at my desk myself is, ‘what is the password?’”
Dorries will also have a say in the appointment of a new Ofcom chair. The government has been eager to appoint Paul Dacre, the former editor of the Daily Mail, but a panel viewed him as “unappointable”. The process is ongoing.
She will also have some responsibility for the BBC, an organisation which she has cricised in the past for being a “biased left-wing organisation”. Dorries has also voiced her opposition to the licence fee in the past.
Her predecessor Dowden held the position for 18 months, during which he banned Huawei from the UK’s 5G rollout and enacted policies designed to make it easier to rollout broadband and mobile networks. More recently, he issued a Public Interest Intervention Notice over Nvidia’s proposed $40 billion takeover of Arm.
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