New player in Ministry reshuffle

Government
Former City solicitor Shailesh Vara MP is the new Minister for the Courts and Legal Aid, following the Ministry of Justice reshuffle in October. He takes over responsibility for legal aid from Lord McNally and much of the portfolio of his predecessor, Helen Grant MP, who has become Minister of State for Sport and Tourism in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.


His remit also includes: courts, tribunals and administrative justice; judicial policy (including diversity); civil law and justice; international business (non-EU); legal services and claims management regulation; Coroners and burial policy; and better regulation and growth.

Educated at Aylesbury Grammar School and Brunel University, the MP has worked as a solicitor in the City, the West End of London and Hong Kong, and was vice chair of the Conservative Party from 2001-5. He was elected MP for North West Cambridgeshire in 2005 and re-elected in 2010.

This is the first ministerial post for Vara, who is assessed by TheyWorkForYou.com as an MP to “hardly ever rebel” against his party. From 2006 he was Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, Government Whip from 2010-12 and was Joint-Vice Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Trafficking of Women and Children.

He has been a diligent Public Bill committee member, most recently on the Defamation Bill and the Crime and Courts Bill committees. In 2007 he introduced a Private Member’s Bill to give greater protection to householders who sought to defend themselves and their property from intruders and “continues to press for a change in legislation”, notes his website.

Despite losing the legal aid brief, Lord McNally will continue to speak on all departmental business in the Lords and retains a wide portfolio.

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling MP, remains in post, as does barrister Jeremy Wright MP, Minister for Prisons and Rehabilitation.

Damian Green MP, who works jointly between the Home office and Ministry of Justice, adds responsibility for victims and witnesses to his portfolio, alongside criminal law, procedure and the criminal offences gateway, human rights and civil liberties and policing.

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