Amber Rudd appointed minister for women and equalities


MPs and gender equality campaigners have expressed concern at the appointment of Amber Rudd as minister for women and equalities in the Cabinet reshuffle.

They say that the heavy responsibilities of her role as Home Secretary may make it difficult for her to give the women and equalities agenda priority.

The previous holder of the role was Justine Greening, who resigned as Education Secretary earlier this week.

By moving back to the Home Office, the Government Equalities Office has now moved department 11 times since its creation in 1997.

Ann Francke, from the Chartered Management Institute, expressed concerns about the minister’s inbox, as did Labour MPs Jess Phillips and Dawn Butler. Victoria Atkins was appointed minister for women with overall responsibility for policy on gender equality.

Meanwhile, Nadhim Zahawi was appointed minister responsible for early years.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said: “At such a pivotal time for childcare and early education policy – not least in light of the roll-out of the 30 hour offer – now more than ever, the early years sector would have benefited from some continuity and consistency of leadership. As such, it is disappointing that we are losing yet another early years minister after such a short period of time, with this week’s reshuffle resulting in the sector’s fifth minister in less than six years.

“That said, we of course welcome Mr Zahawi to his new role and look forward to working closely with him as he gets up to speed on his new brief, and supporting him in gaining a full and comprehensive understanding of the views and concerns of early years practitioners and providers.”
In other news, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has complained that a cross-party report on sexual harassment at Westminster has been watered down. The report has yet to be published.  And Labour has announced it is appointing Rape Crisis to deal with allegations of sexual abuse and harassment in the party. The charity will offer advice and support to anyone reporting or affected by incidents and will carry out an independent audit of internal procedures to ensure they work for victims.

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