New children's minister appointed

By Joanne Parkes

| 29 July 2019

Kemi Badenoch has been appointed the new minister for children and families following the departure of Nadhim Zahawi.

Kemi Badenoch is the fifth minister for early years in four years

The MP for Saffron Waldon joins the Department for Education after Zahawi left to become a minister in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's reshuffle.

Zahawi, who set up the market research firm YouGov, was in post at the DfE for 18 months.

Badenoch was born in Wimbledon, London, and grew up in Nigeria and the US, before returning to the UK aged 16.

Badenoch became an MP in 2017, and prior to that she was a London Assembly member, crossing over with Johnson's tenure as mayor of London.

There she was spokesperson for the economy, deputy chair of the health committee, and sat on transport and policing committees.

Badenoch is a strong Brexit supporter and initially supported Michael Gove in his recent bid for the Tory leadership.

Zahawi, who according to early years leaders, leaves Badenoch "overseeing a sector in crisis", said his successor would make a "passionate and real champion" for vulnerable children and families.

Badenoch studied systems engineering at Sussex University, later also gaining a law degree, and has worked in the IT and banking sectors, including for RBS and Coutts.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said: "It's hugely disappointing to have lost the fifth minister for childcare in almost as many years.

"Kemi Badenoch inherits a brief overseeing a sector in crisis: there is now a £662m funding shortfall and thousands of providers have closed with many more continuing to struggle on. The challenges facing the sector are significant but are not insurmountable and they require urgent action.

"Families value the high-quality, dedicated workforce and we look forward to working with the new minister to ensure children across the country have the best start in life."

blog comments powered by Disqus