Michelle Donelan becomes the third education secretary in just ten months, replacing Nadhim Zahawi who was promoted to chancellor following a wave of resignations over Boris Johnson’s leadership.
Donelan has been promoted from universities minister, a role she has held since February 2020.
The MP for Chippenham previously served on the education select committee and had a short stint as temporary children’s minister.
Before politics she worked in marketing for the Marie Claire magazine and the World Wrestling Entertainment.
Zahawi will replace Rishi Sunak, who resigned earlier this evening saying the public “rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously”.
It will put Zahawi in an interesting position. Just last week he was reported to have asked the Treasury for more funding so he could give teachers a five per cent – rather than the current proposed three per cent – pay rise.
Zahawi was appointed as education secretary in September, lasting just ten months in the role.
The moves follow a wave of resignations this evening – including health secretary Sajid Javid – from embattled Johnson’s government following his latest scandal.
Former foreign office permanent secretary Simon McDonald published a letter this morning making clear Johnson knew about a previous investigation into Chris Pincher, the ex-deputy whip.
It exposed claims by Downing Street that Johnson did not know about claims about Pincher before he quit last week over allegations of groping.
Neither Zahawi nor Donelan have commented yet. But Labour’s shadow secretary Bridget Phillipson said: “Tonight we reach the third education secretary of the academic year.
“Once again it’s clear that Tory ministers put themselves and their careers first. Our young people deserve so much better.”