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Matt Hancock’s promotion to Health Secretary means the lead role at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is now filled by the former Attorney General with a taste for James Bond films.

Photo of Jeremy Wright
New Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright

UK Government

A cabinet reshuffle has seen changes at the top of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS): former Attorney General and avid James Bond fan Jeremy Wright is now the UK’s new Culture Secretary.

Little is known about Wright’s culture credentials, although he has twice gone on the record to express his belief in the power of music as a tool for the rehabilitation of prisoners. He also controversially ignored calls from opposition politicians to distribute an unused £400m Government fund to charities, instead initiating a legal challenge for it to be used to pay off less than 0.07% of the national debt.

Wright has faced criticism in recent days for taking over the Digital brief despite having a very limited social media presence and not having tweeted for over three years.

His parliamentary voting record sets out his limited support for same-sex marriage and lack of support for EU nationals living in the UK.

Writing on Facebook, Wright said: “Very excited to be starting a new job this morning as Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, a department whose work has a huge impact on our heritage, the things we enjoy now and on our national future.”

Wright takes over from Matt Hancock, who has been moved to a new brief as Health Secretary after just six months in the culture hot seat, becoming the 3rd Culture Secretary under Prime Minister Theresa May.

The changes were prompted by a wave of Ministerial resignations since Friday, including Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Jeremy Hunt, previously Health Secretary – and Culture Secretary from 2010-12 – has now become Foreign Secretary.

The junior Ministers in the DCMS, including Digital Minister Margot James and Arts Minister Michael Ellis, have retained their roles.

Fact File

  • Whilst working in the Justice department, Wright twice outlined his belief in Parliament that music made in prison settings could be a method of rehabilitation.  “We want prisoners to play instruments, either on their own or in groups, in appropriate circumstances,” he told the House of Commons in 2014.
  • Earlier this year, Wright applied to the high court to release £400m from an estimated £475m fund that has been building up since 1928, when an anonymous donor provided the Government with £500k to tackle the national debt. He wanted to use the fund for its original purpose, despite the fund never having been worth more than 0.066% of the national debt. Labour has called for the money to be used to fund charities.
  • His voting record on same-sex marriage is neutral (2 votes for and 2 votes against) and he has consistently voted against the right for EU nationals to remain in the UK 
  • His personal biography stresses that he used to play the trumpet but “can barely get a note out of the instrument these days”
  • His interests listed on the Conservative Party website include “travel, especially to the USA, music, and James Bond films”.