After a delay of over a week, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) announced its new ministerial team on 9 May 2019.
The changes at the MoJ were caused by the promotion of Rory Stewart MP, previously the prisons minister, to the cabinet in the post of international development secretary. Stewart’s elevation came after the prime minister sacked Gavin Williamson MP as defence secretary, to be replaced by Penny Mordaunt MP. Mordaunt had previously held the international development brief. Williamson was dismissed after allegedly leaking confidential information from a National Security Council meeting.
Robert Buckland QC MP takes over as minister of state at the MoJ, the second-ranking minister at the department after justice secretary David Gauke MP, who remains in post. Lucy Frazer QC MP was slotted into Buckland’s previous post of solicitor general. Frazer had been an under secretary of state at the MoJ. Her responsibilities included legal aid policy. She has been replaced by Paul Maynard, who is the Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, and was previously a government whip before his move to the MoJ.
Maynard has been an MP since 2010. After graduating from Oxford University, he was employed briefly as a management consultant before working for Liam Fox MP as a speech-writer and adviser. He has a disability, cerebral palsy, which he describes
as ‘very mild, and doesn’t really affect how I live’. His in-tray at the MoJ will include the reviews of legal aid eligibility and criminal fees, as well as the early advice pilot.
‘There will inevitably be some settling-in time for the new minister, but we do hope that Paul Maynard will be able to prioritise the continuing work on legal aid, as the system is facing multiple difficulties, such as the reducing number of suppliers resulting in people not being able to obtain legal help when they need it,’ said LAG director Carol Storer.