Matthew Hancock to replace Ed Vaizey as culture minister - Museums Association

Matthew Hancock to replace Ed Vaizey as culture minister

Longest-serving culture minister confirms ‘vexit’
Profile image for Geraldine Kendall Adams
Geraldine Kendall Adams
Ed Vaizey is to return to the backbenches after six years as England’s minister for culture and the digital economy.

Matthew Hancock, the MP for West Suffolk, has been named as Vaizey’s replacement at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), where he will join the new culture secretary Karen Bradley.

Vaizey became the UK’s longest serving culture minister in January this year. He confirmed he was leaving the DCMS last week, tweeting: “Looking forward to supporting the government from the backbenches #vexit."

A prominent remain campaigner ahead of the EU referendum, Vaizey recently called for the culture sector to help heal divisions caused by the vote.

The minister once attracted criticism for lacking awareness of the scale of difficulties facing regional culture, describing organisations outside London that could not attract philanthropy as “pathetic”.

But cultural figures have paid tribute to his achievements in addressing diversity in the sector, steering the publication of this year's culture white paper and the upcoming review of museums, and helping the DCMS avoid the worst of government cuts in the most recent budget, as well as his efforts to secure the future of Bradford’s National Media Museum.

The Museums Association's (MA) director Sharon Heal said: "Ed was a champion of museums in England and always willing to listen to the views of staff and visitors at a local level. One of his great achievements was to get the culture white paper published and instigate a museum review off the back of it. I hope his successor Matthew Hancock will pick up the reigns and ensure the job that Ed has started is completed.

"Museums outside of the DCMS portfolio face a challenging future and I hope that the new minister and secretary of state can work with other departments in government to support the amazing contribution that museums make to our lives.

"The MA very much looks forward to meeting with the new minister and secretary of state to discuss the future of museums and the challenges and opportunities that they face.

"I hope that the Museum Taskforce which the MA has launched will provide invaluable evidence of the vital role that museums play working with communities."

Vaizey’s replacement, Hancock, was minister for the Cabinet Office and paymaster general until last week’s cabinet reshuffle. He has also served as minister of state for energy, minister of state for small business, industry and enterprise, minister for Portsmouth and minister of state for skills and enterprise.

Before entering parliament in 2010, Hancock worked as an economist for the Bank of England.

Meanwhile Labour has appointed Kelvin Hopkins, the MP for Luton North, as shadow culture secretary after Maria Eagle resigned from the role last month amid a mass walkout of MPs from the shadow cabinet. The shadow culture minister, Thangam Debbonaire also resigned.

In other political news, the mayor of London Sadiq Khan appointed Justine Simons as deputy mayor for culture earlier this month. Originally a dance producer and director, Simons previously worked as head of culture at London’s City Hall, delivering cultural initiatives such as the Olympic Festival and the World Cities Cultural Forum.


Updated to include a comment from the MA's director.

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