A cabinet reshuffle has brought changes at the top of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS): former Attorney General and huge James Bond fan Jeremy Wright is now the new Culture Secretary from the United Kingdom.
Little is known about Wright’s cultural credentials, although he went on the record twice to express his belief in the power of music as a tool for prisoner rehabilitation. He also controversially ignored calls from opposition politicians to distribute an unused £400million government fund to charities, instead launching a legal challenge that it be used to repay less than 0 .07% of the national debt.
Wright has faced criticism in recent days for taking up the digital dossier despite having a very limited social media presence and not having tweeted in over three years.
His parliamentary voting record indicates his limited support for same-sex marriage and his lack of support for EU nationals living in the UK.
Writing on Facebook, Wright said: ‘Very excited to start a new job this morning as Secretary of State in 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 our national future.
Wright succeeds Matt Hancock, who was moved to a new post 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 to 2012 – has now become foreign secretary.
Junior DCMS ministers, including digital minister Margot James and arts minister Michael Ellis, retained their roles.
- While working at the Department of Justice, Wright twice emphasized his belief in Parliament that music made in prison could be a method of rehabilitation. “We want prisoners to play instruments, alone or in groups, in appropriate circumstances,” he told the House of Commons in 2014.
- Earlier this year Wright asked the High Court to release £400million from an estimated £475million fund that has been building up since 1928, when an anonymous donor provided the government with £500,000 to tackle the national debt. He wanted to use the fund for his original purpose, although the fund never accounted for more than 0.066% of the national debt. Labor called for the money to be used to fund charity.
- His voting record on same-sex marriage is neutral (2 votes for and 2 votes against) and he has consistently voted against EU nationals’ right to stay in the UK.
- His personal biography points out 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 United States, music and James Bond films”.