As Rishi Sunak officially became the UK’s third successive Conservative Prime Minister this year, having met with King Charles III at Buckingham Palace yesterday (25th October), he has announced the new members of his cabinet with a notable appointment of Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper as Secretary of State for Transport.
Mr. Harper takes on the role from Anne Marie-Trevelyan, who was appointed by Liz Truss in early September as a replacement to Grant Shapps. Trevelyan came out in support of Harper, tweeting:
“Congratulations to @Mark_J_Harper on his appointment as Transport Secretary - continuing to deliver on our 2019 manifesto, building infrastructure to help us level-up the whole of the country, and driving the net zero revolution.”
Mr. Harper’s appointment comes after he his previous backing of Sunak to become Prime Minister, claiming he “represents a return to traditional Conservative values and has an exciting vision for the future of our country.
“Our next prime minister must rebuild trust - I'm backing Rishi Sunak to give our United Kingdom the serious, competent leadership we need.”
Mr. Harper’s appointment is the second time this year that the role has changed hands, which could show potential lack of continuity within the ambitions for the transport sector. With projects like HS2, Great British Railways and Northern Powerhouse Rail’s future being uncertain, accompanied by the crippling industrial action within the rail industry, UK transport will require a stable figurehead to calm the sector and provide a clear narrative for growth and scheme delivery.
Mr. Harper released a statement on twitter addressing his appointment and his ambitions to calm the tumultuous sector, saying:
“Delighted to be appointed Secretary of State for Transport by Prime Minister @RishiSunak.
“Transport affects us all, and I can’t wait to tackle the challenges we face so we can deliver for communities across our United Kingdom.”
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