Brooks Newmark announced as new civil society minister

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced via Twitter that Brooks Newmark is to replace Nick Hurd as the the new Minister for Civil Society. 

Newmark (pictured below, left) has been the Conservative MP for Braintree since 2005 and has sat on the Treasury Select Committee since 2012. He studied at Oxford and Harvard and was a senior partner in the private equity firm Apollo Management before entering politics. 

Brooks Newmark MP

Civil society organisations were quick to offer their messages of welcome to the newly appointed minister via the Twittersphere, where Brooks describes himself on his Twitter profile –  – as: "Fiscally Conservative Socially Liberal. Keen Newcastle fan + eternal optimist."

The Charities Aid Foundation posted: "We look forward to working closely with Brooks Newmark as he takes over as Minister for Civil Society," and Charlotte Taylor – ‏ – senior parliamentary officer at the NCVO, tweeted: "Our new Civil Society Minister has 284 charities in his constituency (Braintree) employing c. 200 people. #reshuffle #fact."

Nick Hurd himself tweeted that he was "delighted" that Newmark was "picking up the baton". 

Newmark reciprocated in the Twitter love-in – – by tweeting: "Big thank u 2 my gr8 friend 4 his tremendous work w/voluntary sector over past 4 yrs in Govt. Will build on his excellent work."

Not all have been so enthusiastic – Toby Blume, founder of Archer Academy free school in north London, pointed out sceptically that Newmark previously held the position of vice president of the international division of Shearson Lehman Brothers, which went bankrupt in 2008. Newmark had left the global financial service firm by 1987, however. 

Other commentators preferred to focus on the outgoing minister Nick Hurd, with generally positive comments – including a blog from Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, the UK's preeminent voluntary sector body.

Newmark spoke on the issue of youth unemployment today in the House of Commons, citing statistics from his own borough. He said: "Youth unemployment in Braintree fell from 6.3% in May 2010 to 3.8% in May 2014." It has not yet been confirmed whether he will inherit Nick Hurd's youth brief, however. Responsibility over youth policy and strategy was shifted over to the Cabinet Office and made Hurd's reponsibility in June last year. 

Looking back, Newmark became a focus of the national press last year for his vocal support of arming Syrian rebels in order to help them bring down the country's dictator President Assad. He wrote in the Daily Mail that he had met Assad one-to-one, numerous times and that Britain must "lift the arms embargo to send a powerful message to Assad that this will no longer be a one-sided war".

Newmark's appointment is part of the UK Prime Minister's pre-election cabinet reshuffle, which has also featured the replacement of Foreign Secretary William Hague with the former Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond and the removal of Education Secretary Michael Gove to the post of Chief Whip.


Photo credit (main photo, David Cameron): DFID, Flickr

Photo credit (insert photo, Brooks Newmark):