Two transport ministers have been axed as part of Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle.
George Freeman, who was previously Minister of State for Transport Technology and Innovation, and Nusrat Ghani, previously Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, have both been removed from their positions in the cabinet reshuffle, as the Prime Minister put his team in place to shape strategy over the next five years.
Mr Freeman, who had been in his role from July 2019, spoke of his ‘sadness’ at not being part of the ‘government of renewal’. He described it as a “huge privilege” to have been part of shaping the transport strategy.
In his letter to the Prime Minister following the cabinet reshuffle, Mr Freeman warned against Whitehall control when shaping policy.
He said: “To stand a chance of tackling the failures of successive governments to deliver both infrastructure and lasting local regeneration, we will need new models of delivery and a government that supports its ministers (and Mayors and council leaders) in driving serious reforms.
“If ‘Taking Back Control’ means iron-clad centralisation via Whitehall control, it will fail to deliver the real empowerment we need or promised.”
Ms Ghani, who was the first female Muslim to speak at the House of Commons despatch box, thanked Grant Shapps – who has maintained his position as Transport Secretary in the reshuffle – as well as the whole Department for Transport.
She also spoke of pride about defending HS2.
“Since the day I first walked into the Department, I have felt welcomed and supported. With only a few years under my belt as an MP, I do not mind admitting that entering such a large infrastructure department was a daunting challenge – I can only hope I managed to hide it well.
“I’m also proud of the work with our Northern and Midlands Mayors and leaders as we defended HS2.”
Andrew Stephenson has been named Mr Freeman’s successor, while Kelly Tolhurst has replaced Ms Ghani.
The Prime Minister has signalled his intention to name a minister for HS2, though that person has yet to be confirmed.