Culture media

MP for Chippenham Michele Donelan appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

CHIPPENHAM MP Michelle Donelan has been appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Downing Street said.

Ms Donelan previously spent 36 hours as Boris Johnson’s education secretary, before stepping down in her final hours before agreeing to step down.

The former Higher and Further Education Minister replaces Nadine Dorries, having backed Liz Truss after initially backing her former boss Nadhim Zahawi and then Penny Mordaunt in the leadership race.

Ms Donelan will face ongoing talks over the privatization of Channel 4 and BBC licensing fees as she steps into the role of UK Culture Secretary.

She also has previous experience in the entertainment industry, having worked for The History Channel as well as head of international marketing communications for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

His new appointment as Culture Secretary comes as the chief executive of the Alliance of Film and Television Producers (Pact), which represents the independent TV production sector, has called for a review of privatization from Channel 4.

Ms Donelan’s predecessor, Nadine Dorries, announced the government’s intention to privatize the broadcaster earlier this year.

The government has argued that the broadcaster will struggle to survive in a media landscape increasingly dominated by big streaming giants such as Netflix.

Pact chief executive John McVay said it would be an “absurd” decision to move the broadcaster, which is entirely ad-supported, out of public ownership.

Ms Donelan will also inherit problems with the BBC license fee review.

Government plans to replace the broadcaster’s funding model have previously been described as a “big bait” to attack the BBC by Jon Thoday, co-founder and co-executive chairman of production company Avalon.

In January, Ms Dorries announced licensing fees would be frozen at £159 for the next two years until April 2024.

Prior to her short-lived cabinet role, Ms Donelan notably served on the education select committee for three years, before entering government as the whips’ office in 2018.

She then spent three years at the Ministry of Education, first as Minister for Children and Families, then Minister of State for Universities.

In 2021, Ms Donelan was promoted to Minister for Higher and Further Education, served in cabinet in 2021 and was sworn in to the Privy Council.

In her spare time, she enjoys walking her dog Bella in the Wiltshire countryside, according to her official parliamentary biography.