Profile: Who is Ben Gummer, the new minister for the Cabinet Office?

Written by Freya Pascall and the Dods People team on 15 July 2016 in Analysis
Analysis

With Matt Hancock leaving the government as part of new prime minister Theresa May's frontbench shake-up, CSW's colleagues on Dods People have put together a profile of Ben Gummer, the man who replaces him as minister for the Cabinet Office

Ben Gummer arrives in Downing Street, London, as prime minister Theresa May puts the finishing touches to her top team. Image: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

What are Ben Gummer's responsibilities?

Public sector efficiency and reform; digital transformation of government; civil service issues; industrial relations strategy in the public sector; government transparency; civil contingencies; civil society; cyber security; UK statistics.

What's his background?

Elected in 2010, Ben Gummer was quickly appointed to two select committees (regulatory reform and justice) on which he served until becoming parliamentary adviser to Lord Feldman of Elstree as Conservative Party chairman from 2012-15.

Before his first ministerial appointment he was also a serial PPS, first to Alan Duncan as international development minister from 2012-13, then to Michael Gove as Education Secretary from 2013-14 and finally to Nicky Morgan as education secretary from 2014-15.

In 2015 he was appointed as parliamentary under-secretary of state for care quality at the Department of Health. where he served until his appointment to the Cabinet, managing much of the junior doctor dispute alongside Jeremy Hunt, as well as working with health regulators, NHS management and kick-starting the NHS apprenticeships programme.

Before parliament, Gummer was a businessman and writer, though during his pursuit of a seat in the Commons he campaigned largely on health issues, particularly on cuts to services at Ipswich Hospital.

He confronted Labour's Harriet Harman over her claims that the Conservatives planned to close SureStart centres and scrap the winter fuel allowance, and used his maiden speech to express his support for penal reform.

Gummer introduced the ten-minute rule bill which called on the chancellor to issue every taxpayer with details of the tax and national insurance they paid and what it had been spent on. The idea was taken up by George Osborne, who introduced it in his 2012 Budget.

During the referendum campaign, Gummer supported Remain. He said that if Britain left the European Union "we lose power and control. That's not sovereignty, it's an illusion".

He has described himself as a libertarian who is principally against banning things, though he came in for criticism for his view on abortion (that the time limit should be shortened) on appointment to the Department of Health.

In 2014 he raised concerns about public sector redundancies and the potential effect of cuts in public spending on unemployment – but he quickly countered this, by saying that there were lots of new jobs out there.

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