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The inside track: November 2023

Our latest update on what’s happening in Westminster and how it might impact charities. This month sees the King’s Speech, a government reshuffle, and a push to improve charity public services contracts.

Government reshuffle

The government has carried out an extensive reshuffle. This is likely to be the last major reshuffle before the general election.

Home secretary Suella Braverman has been sacked. She is replaced by foreign secretary James Cleverly.

Many charities will hope this signals a less divisive approach to issues such as immigration and protests. However it’s unlikely to lead to major policy changes given the government’s stated priorities.

The reshuffle also saw the surprise return of former prime minister David Cameron. He has been appointed to the House of Lords to allow him to become the new foreign secretary.

Further key appointments charities should be aware of include the following.

Victoria Atkins, health and social care secretary

Financial secretary to the Treasury, Victoria Atkins, has been promoted to the cabinet. She replaces Steve Barclay as health and social care secretary.

Victoria is a barrister by profession and was first elected in 2015. She previously served as a minister in the Home Office and Ministry of Justice.

Her appointment comes amid ongoing NHS strikes and predictions of a winter crisis in the health service.

Steve Barclay, environment secretary

The former Brexit secretary Steve Barclay has moved from the Department for Health and Social Care to become the new environment secretary.

He replaces Therese Coffey, who has left government. Ms Coffey faced criticism over her handling of water pollution.

Mr Barclay has previously served in a number of high profile roles across government, including in the Treasury and the Cabinet Office.

Lee Rowley, housing minister

Lee Rowley has been appointed as housing minister, replacing Rachel Maclean. He becomes the sixteenth person to hold the role since 2010.

He was previously local government minister and ran Kemi Badenoch’s leadership campaign.


The Labour Party has continued its by-election success. They won a further three seats in October.

They first gained Rutherglen and Hamilton West from the Scottish National Party (SNP). Michael Shanks was elected as the new MP for the region.

Two weeks later Labour candidate Alistair Strathern won in Mid Bedfordshire. This seat was held by former culture secretary Nadine Dorries. On the same day Sarah Edwards overturned a nearly 20,000 Conservative majority in Tamworth.

A recall petition has been initiated in Wellingborough after incumbent MP Peter Bone was banned from the House of Commons for six weeks. The ban came following an investigation into bullying and inappropriate behaviour. Mr Bone also lost the Conservative whip as a result of the investigation.

According to the Recall of MPs Act 2015, a recall petition will be issued if an MP is banned from the House of Commons for two weeks or more. If 10% of the constituency’s electorate sign the petition, Mr Bone will be removed as the MP and a by-election will be called.

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