Yeovil MP David Laws to return to Government as Education Minister
Yeovil MP David Laws will return to the front benches after being named as Education Minister in today's Cabinet reshuffle.
Liberal Democrat MP Mr Laws, who stood down from his position as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2010 following an expenses scandal, has long been tipped to rejoin the ministerial ranks.
He has replaced fellow Lib-Dem Sarah Teather as part of a wide-ranging Government shake-up.
Mr Laws will take on two new roles – firstly as Minister of State for Schools in the Department for Education, and secondly as Minister of State in the Cabinet Office, in a cross-policy brief that will involve coordinating and developing policy across government.
The latter will include work for Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and alongside Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin.
Mr Laws said: "I am very pleased to be given this opportunity to serve the coalition Government and the country in these two roles.
“Education is one of my real passions, and it is an area I know well following my time as Lib Dem Shadow Secretary of State for Schools, between 2007 and 2010.
"It will also be a real challenge and opportunity to be involved in many policy issues through my role in the Cabinet Office.
"We must not underestimate the difficult times people are going through at the moment and I will work hard to put growth, jobs and fairer taxes at the heart of what we do.
“I shall be doing these jobs alongside my existing responsibilities as MP for Yeovil, and I do not intend to cut back in any way on my constituency work.
"I shall continue to hold my regular, local, advice centres and will be available for any constituent who needs my help.
"My role as Yeovil MP is my first responsibility, and I have a brilliant and experienced team of staff in both Yeovil and London to help me with that work.
“I am immensely grateful to all those constituents who have given me their support and encouragement over the past two and half years. I will do all I can to return that confidence.”
Earlier this year, Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg spoke of his desire to bring Mr Laws back during a high-profile interview on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show.
Mr Clegg said: “I would like to see David Laws back in government – not just because I admire him a lot and he is a close friend of mine – I just so happen to think he would be very good for the Government and good for Britain. In my view, he’s got one of the most sophisticated minds in British politics.”
BBC political experts are also reporting that Mr Laws will be given a 'more strategic role' in addition to his position as an education minister, and will have a 'roving brief' advising the Deputy Prime Minister.
Among other changes announced today, Jeremy Hunt has been promoted to Health Secretary in place of Andrew Lansley, who becomes Commons leader.
Maria Miller will replace Mr Hunt as Culture, Media and Sport Secretary and will also be Minister for Women and Equalities.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling has replaced Ken Clarke as Justice Secretary, while Justine Greening has been appointed International Development Secretary.
Patrick McLoughlin will replace Ms Greening as Transport Secretary.