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Article from BTNews 12 SEPTEMBER 2022

COMMENT: A new Transport Minister *

The Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP has been appointed by the new Prime Minister Liz Truss to a Cabinet position as Secretary of State for Transport. She was first elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency at the 2015 general election.  Previously she was Secretary of State for International Development.


We wish her all the best with her new position.  

With the sad passing of Her Majesty The Queen there is the inevitable delay in confirming positions of Minister of State for Aviation, Ports/Shipping, Railways and Roads. Robert Courts, a highly visible Aviation Minister is still on the Department for Transport (DfT) masthead.  Kevin Foster, former Home Office Minister, has been given a role at the Department for Transport but the MP for Torbay’s responsibilities have not yet been detailed.

A Boris Johnson supporter, the outgoing Minister Grant Shapps has in effect been sacked by the Prime Minister in a purge of Cabinet members who did not support her in the Conservative Party membership leader election.  He returns to the back benches as the MP for Welwyn and Hatfield, a local constituency MP.  Shapps, Chairman of the Conservative Party during the David Cameron premiership, proved a safe pair of hands particularly during the pandemic when he did his duty as a regular government spokesman for the morning media outlets, able to deftly deal with all manner of questions.  

In transport Shapps (2019–2022) followed Chris Grayling (2016–2019) and Sir Patrick McLoughlin (2012–16), the current Chairman of Airlines UK, all with a real interest in every form of transport, and the short-lived Justine Greening (2011–2012).

Shapps believed very much in collective Cabinet policy and we are not likely to know for some time whether he was able to influence the PM or Treasury on direct support for the aviation and travel industries over the period of the pandemic.  

Whilst having a great interest in all forms of travel, as a licensed private pilot, commuter from Brookmans Park, and keen cyclist, his policy was for the specialist Ministers, such as Robert Courts in air travel, to act as a government spokesman.  His one major strategy decision was the Williams-Shapps Review to move from a rail franchise system to concessionary Great British Railways public body (from 2023).  This whole scheme, including the relocation from London, could easily be dismantled by the incoming government.  He did make it clear of his distrust of motorway refuge areas on ‘smart motorways’, the system planned before his tenure as minister.

Prior to his Transport post Grant Shapps was very active in promoting the All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation, one of the most active back bench working committees which has effectively resulted in the General Aviation Roadmap published by government last year.

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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum

JOHN REEVE, Warwickshire

What a pity that Grant Shapps has been relegated to the back benches. He was a most talented Minister and will be a great loss to UK Aviation, especially to the beleaguered GA sector!

Barry Graham, United States

Mr Shapps is very talented and it's a shame he's being relegated because of politics.

Lily Jones, Bristol

It will be interesting when Ms Trevelyan is called upon by the Transport Committee who for the most part know something about cars, planes and trains. They will be ready to interrogate her

Bill Turner, Brighton

Some odd appointments by the new PM. A Transport minister with no airport in her constituency and a Health preacher who is reported to smoke.

Jill Smith, Oxford

With Government virtually suspended until post the funeral it will be interesting to see the further DfT appointments. What worries me with the new Transport Secretary is that it’s a pure political appointment.