With the announcement of Liz Truss’ victory in the race to become the next Conservative Party leader, thus becoming the third female Prime Minister in British history, a major cabinet shakeup has begun, seeing Grant Shapps removed from his position of Secretary of State for Transport. Anne-Marie Trevelyan has since been announced as his replacement, having previously served as Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade from 15 September 2021 to 6 September 2022.
Addressing this news on Twitter, Shapps stated:
“It has been a privilege to serve as Transport Secretary; a job I loved.
“Now I look forward to being a strong, independent voice on the backbenches, developing policies that will further the Conservative cause.”
Shapps faced major obstacles throughout his time as Transport Secretary, notably the subsidising major aspects of the transport industry throughout the struggles of the Covid-19 pandemic. This can be seen recently in funding deal secured with the TfL to ensure their operations can be maintained into 2023.
Shapps’ tenure will likely be remembered for the ongoing industrial action that has plagued the rail sector for recent months, with many operators struggling to cope with daily operations, seeing major travel disruptions across the country. Shapps’ handling of this dispute drew ire from some over his failure to engage with unions to mitigate the fallout of these walkouts, whilst others praised his hard-nosed approach that refused to be held to ransom over worker demands.
The new appointment of Anne-Marie Trevelyan will be notable as Ms Truss has been outspoken in the lead up to her election win about her vision for the future of British rail, championing causes such as the progression of Northern Powerhouse Rail. If Trevelyan can secure the progression of this scheme, she will likely win support of rail users in the North of England, in particular Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham who has welcomed Ms Truss’ premiership by stating;
“I was encouraged to be fair by what Liz Truss had to say about building Northern Powerhouse Rail in full, she sounded like she meant it when discussing her own years growing up in Yorkshire and her own difficulties getting over the Pennines. That sounded genuine to me and her commitment sounds encouraging. So, I would say, if she wins and becomes Prime Minister, sit down with us and let’s work this situation out.
“So far, it’s Liz who has said something that is more encouraging to us in this issue of rail investment in the North.”
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