Posted: Fri 8th Jul 2022
Following the resignation of more than 50 ministers and aides, Boris Johnson, who on Thursday quit as Conservative Party leader but vowed to stay on as prime minister until a new leader is found, has made a series of new ministerial appointments. Among them is a new small business minister.
Several scandals, including the 'partygate' revelations during the COVID-19 pandemic, led to Johnson resigning after many Tory MPs called for him to go with some ministers quitting in protest.
The now 'caretaker' prime minister has appointed several new ministers and secretaries of state to plug the gaps created by those who left their jobs.
Among those changing roles are Paul Scully, who was appointed small business minister in 2020. He is now minister for local government.
Writing on Twitter before being given his new job, Scully said:
"My focus has always been on the privileged position I hold, so I've tried to do the right thing for the country as calmly as possible during this chaotic time. Whilst pushing for change, government also has a responsibility to keep functioning with some continuity."
Scully has been replaced as small business minister by Jane Hunt, the MP for Loughborough.
According to Hunt's website, she worked in commercial business for 15 years before entering the civil service. She was elected as an MP in the December 2019 general election.
In February 2020, she was appointed as a parliamentary private secretary to the Cabinet Office and then promoted in September 2021 to PPS to the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
In a tweet, Scully confirmed that like it did for him, Hunt's role will also cover postmasters, hospitality and retail, consumers and workers.
I am looking forward to getting started! https://t.co/lDTQKCmHJz— Jane Hunt MP (@JaneMHunt) July 8, 2022
In another appointment of interest to small businesses, former education secretary Nadim Zahawi is the new chancellor. This is despite him calling for Johnson to resign.
Zahawi replaces Rishi Sunak who resigned on Tuesday. In his resignation letter, Sunak referred to a joint speech with Johnson on the economy that was planned for next week. He said:
"It has become clear to me that our approaches are fundamentally too different."
Before Johnson resigned, a Downing Street spokesperson said he would announce a new economic strategy with his new chancellor. It has not been confirmed whether this will still go ahead. Speaking to Sky News, Zahawi hinted that a planned rise in the main rate of corporation tax, announced by Sunak in his 2021 Budget, could be scrapped.
Commenting on Zahawi’s appointment, Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said:
"We're living through turbulent political and economic times. We're pleased an entrepreneur with the stature of Nadhim Zahawi has taken on the role of chancellor.
“We hope that will mean he will make it his mission to focus on helping small businesses to navigate this complex moment in time, with the continuation and extension of key support initiatives that will help to increase productivity and growth."
Despite also calling for Johnson to resign, Kwasi Kwarteng remains as business secretary. Writing on Twitter, he said:
"We now need a new Leader as soon as practicable. Someone who can rebuild trust, heal the country, and set out a new, sensible and consistent economic approach to help families.
"I'm on Teesside today launching a £400m investment - a new offshore wind factory that will employ hundreds of local people.
"Westminster is a mess, but this investment - and those jobs - will outlast any PM. The wheels of Government must continue in the meantime."
The Conservative Party will now elect a new leader. The process is expected to take several months.
At the time of writing, the following have announced they are standing for leader:
Keep an eye on the Enterprise Nation blog for coverage of what the Conservative Party leadership election and new prime minister means for small businesses.