Bexhill and Battle MP and former Transport Committee Chair Huw Merriman is the new Rail Minister, appointed following the cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Mark Harper, MP for the Forest of Dean, was appointed as Secretary of State for Transport.
Of the ministerial team appointed at the Department for Transport by Liz Truss during her short tenure as Prime Minister, only Lords Minister Baroness Vere remains; she has been the Lords Minister at DfT since 2019 and now holds the aviation, maritime and security portfolio.
Mr Harper’s appointment is his first as a Minister since 2016, when he was Chief Whip. A chartered accountant by profession, he became an MP in 2005. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who was appointed as Secretary of State by Ms Truss, is now Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office on 26 October 2022, having been Transport Secretary for just seven weeks.
Mr Merriman was elected as an MP in 2015. This is his first ministerial appointment, but he has been a member of the Commons Transport Committee throughout his tenure as an MP, and its chair since January 2020; the process to elect a new chair has been launched. As a minister Mr Merriman takes responsibility for the entire rail portfolio, including HS2, passenger and freight services and international rail. His predecessor Kevin Foster has returned to the backbenches; like Ms Trevelyan, he was at DfT for just seven weeks.
Jesse Norman, the MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, returns to DfT as Minister of State with responsibility for decarbonisation and technology. He was previously a DfT minister between 2017 and 2019.
Also appointed to DfT is Richard Holden, the MP for North West Durham. He is responsible for roads and local transport, a portfolio which includes light rail, union connectivity, the regions and devolution, London and the future of freight.