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Could Nusrat Ghani become the UK's latest shipping minister?

Conservative Party MP for Wealden, who moved to transport Tuesday night, would be only the second woman to hold the role

COULD Nusrat Ghani become the United Kingdom’s latest shipping minister as part of the government’s ongoing reshuffle?

Part of the 2015 intake, Ms Ghani is the Conservative Party MP for Wealden, an affluent constituency in Sussex, southern England, which borders Royal Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne.

On Tuesday evening she was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department for Transport and Assistant Whip, joining five other new female faces at the whip’s office, including Kelly Tolhurst, Mims Davies, Amanda Milling, Jo Churchill and Wendy Morton.

Under previous incarnations, the shipping and maritime brief has typically gone to a junior minister, and has been held by Robert Goodwill, Jim Fitzpatrick and Paul Clark.

Other than incumbant John Hayes, only one other minister of state has held the shipping brief. Labour MP for South Thanet Stephen Ladyman served as Minister of State for Transport in charge of shipping and maritime from 2005 to 2007.

Mr Hayes resigned from his post as minister of state for transport and maritime on Tuesday. He is expected to return to the backbenches after serving 18 years on the front bench.

Despite a number of maritime trade publications claiming that Jo Johnson has been given the maritime brief as part of his move from universities to transport, widely seen as a demotion, no official announcement on the shipping role has been made.

Indeed, repeated calls to the DfT press office elicited various responses from “it is within the interests of the secretary of state and ministers to make [a decision] as soon as possible” to “a decision is expected today”, and finally an appeal to “call number 10 who will know before us”.

Should Ms Ghani bag the shipping role, she will be only the second woman to hold the position (although we are prepared to be corrected on that point) after Glenda Jackson’s two-year tenure from 1997.

Shipping and maritime would be something of a departure for Ms Ghani who has sat on a number of select committees including the Home Affairs Committee, the Armed Forces Bill Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee.

She is a former charity worker and BBC employee.


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