A government reshuffle has brought four changes to ministers dealing with travel and tourism, including the return to the Department for Transport (DfT) of a long-time opponent of Heathrow expansion.
Liberal Democrat Baroness Kramer replaced rail minister Norman Baker at the DfT. Kramer, former MP for Richmond Park, has campaigned against expanding Heathrow since the early 1990s.
Kramer is joined at the DfT by Conservative Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, who replaces aviation minister Simon Burns.
Goodwill is a eurosceptic former MEP who has served at the Treasury and as a whip in the current government but was shadow transport secretary for three years up to the 2010 election.
Burns, who was responsible for Atol reform and airports, resigned at the weekend but was expected to be replaced.
Tourism and sports minister Hugh Robertson has moved to the Foreign Office and been replaced by Conservative MP for Maidstone Helen Grant – who became the first black woman elected as a Tory MP in 2010.
Grant moves from the Ministry of Justice where she was equalities minister. But she already has an office at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
The minister will retain her equalities role. There has been no official confirmation that Grant’s portfolio will include tourism although she has taken over Robertson’s sports and Olympic legacy roles.
Grant is a lawyer specialising in family law and domestic violence. Her replacement of Robertson means the tourism minister’s role will yet again be part time.
In a further change, junior Treasury secretary Sajid Javid – the minister responsible for Air Passenger duty (APD) - was promoted within the Treasury and replaced by Nicky Morgan, Conservative MP for Loughborough.
Morgan is a corporate lawyer who entered Parliament in 2010 and has been a government whip for the past year.
Labour’s shadow cabinet also changed yesterday in a shuffle which saw Wakefield MP Mary Creagh replace Maria Eagle as shadow transport secretary.
Creagh has shadowed the environment secretary since 2010 after being elected in 2005. However, she has experience of the DCMS where she was parliamentary private secretary to Andy Burman in 2008-09.
Abta welcomed the new appointments, arguing “reshuffles don’t just move people, they often shift policies”.
Head of public affairs Stephen D’Alfonso said: “A new minister responsible for aviation taxes means the government has a chance to look again at its refusal to undertake a proper review of the impacts of APD.”
However, the changes affecting travel are at a junior level and Treasury policy on taxation, including APD, will be decided by Chancellor George Osborne.
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