The Daily Telegraph

Truss makes first U-turn by selecting women’s minister


THE Prime Minister performed her first about-turn last night as she appointed a minister for women a fortnight after saying the position was not necessary.

Yesterday evening, Downing Street announced that Katherine Fletcher MP had been appointed as a junior minister in the Department for Transport as well as parliament­ary secretary (minister for women) in the Cabinet Office.

Liz Truss’s Cabinet reshuffle was put on hold during the national mourning period which officially ended yesterday.

The secretarie­s of state and Cabinet ministers were announced in her first week in office, but a number of junior appointmen­ts and ministers of state were announced yesterday.

Earlier this month, Ms Truss was accused of “erasing women from the equalities agenda”, after the role was scrapped during her initial Cabinet reshuffle. At the time, No10 denied that Ms Truss was downgradin­g the importance of women’s rights.

On Sept 13, Nadhim Zahawi was announced as the minister for equalities, alongside his main brief as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said at the time that while there is not a specific minister for women in the Cabinet, Mr Zahawi’s brief would cover women as part of his work on equalities.

Dropping “women” from the title was queried by female MPS. Labour MP Kate Osborne, who now leads the Commons women and equalities committee, said: “Women’s rights must be at the forefront of the work we do. We can’t allow the [Government] to erase women from the equalities agenda.”

Tory MP Caroline Nokes, the former committee chairman, tweeted: “Wonder if the erasing of women from the job title is intentiona­l or just an oversight...”

During the first round of senior ministeria­l appointmen­ts, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said while Mr Zahawi’s title had “changed slightly”, his brief had not altered.

The spokesman said: “The equalities brief has not changed. The policies which relate to him still apply. He is the minister for equalities which will include the policies as before which applied. The title has changed slightly.”

The spokesman added that “actions the Government is taking in this space is how it should be judged rather than on job titles of individual­s”.

Ms Truss previously held the title of minister for women and equalities with her role as foreign secretary in Boris Johnson’s government.

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