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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Nadine Dorries becomes new culture secretary


Former health minister Nadine Dorries has been appointed the new culture secretary, replacing Oliver Dowden.

Outside of Westminster, the Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire is best known for her appearance on ITV’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in 2012.

Dorries’ party suspended her after she agreed to fly to Australia and compete on the show. The following year, she was readmitted.

The 64-year-old is the country’s tenth culture secretary in ten years.

Dorries, who was born in Liverpool in 1957, began her career as a nurse before entering politics in 2000.

Prior to her election in 2005, she worked as a special adviser to the then-shadow chancellor, Oliver Letwin.

The politician and author said she was “very” happy with her new appointment

A staunch Brexiteer, Dorries has had an occasionally fractious relationships with the leaders of her party.

In 2012 she described then-PM David Cameron and his then-chancellor George Osborne as “two arrogant posh boys who show no remorse”.

Outside of politics she is a published author, having signed a deal in 2013 to write a trilogy about her childhood experiences.

The first instalment, The Four Streets, was greeted by largely negative reviews when it was published the following year.

In 2015 she revealed she had been sexually abused as a child by her local vicar, now deceased.

She has previously used her Twitter account to comment on topical issues facing the arts and entertainment industry, including so-called cancel culture.

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‘Strong views’

Analysis by David Sillito, media and arts correspondent

Dorries appeared on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2012

Nadine Dorries, a successful novelist, former I’m a Celebrity contestant (which resulted in a brief suspension of the Conservative whip), and a strong advocate of gender equality on the BBC, has certainly demonstrated an interest in cultural matters.

In 2017 she tweeted: “Left wing snowflakes are killing comedy, tearing down historic statues, removing books from universities, dumbing down panto.”

Her appointment to the DCMS comes on the same day that her predecessor, Oliver Dowden, was set to deliver his views on the future of Channel 4. John Whittingdale, the media minister, has now delivered that speech.

Sport, gambling, the future of the BBC, broadband services: the DCMS has a broad remit that ranges from dealing with tech behemoths to assisting in the alleviation of loneliness.

And over recent months Oliver Dowden has increasingly entered debates about so-called “woke culture”, statues and removing “contested heritage”, political territory in which the new culture secretary has already expressed strong views

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Oliver Dowden was appointed culture secretary in February 2020, replacing Baroness Morgan.

His tenure saw him negotiate a £1.57 billion support package to help the arts sector cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Oliver Dowden was appointed culture secretary in February 2020

In a front-bench reshuffle on Wednesday, he was named co-chairman of the Conservative Party, succeeding the sacked Amanda Milling.

Downing Street confirmed that he would be a minister without portfolio at the Cabinet Office.

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