Nigel Huddleston appointment ends three-week wait for social enterprise minister in UK

Nigel Huddleston has been named as the new minister responsible for social enterprise in the UK government.

The news came late on Friday 8 October – three weeks after Diana Barran, the former minister for civil society in charge of social enterprise, tweeted that she had been appointed to the department for education.

Huddleston, MP for Mid Worcestershire since 2015, was named minister for sport, Commonwealth Games and tourism in early 2020. He is adding Barran’s civil society remit – as well as heritage – to his portfolio.

The allocation of the brief was not disclosed in a public announcement, but appeared in an update on the government’s website on Friday afternoon.

The delay in confirming Baroness Barran’s successor had led some to question if oversight of social enterprise would move to another department. However, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) told Pioneers Post on Friday that social enterprise remained within the civil society brief and under Huddleston’s responsibility, within DCMS.

Huddleston is Westminster's seventh civil society minister in 11 years – although not the first to combine responsibility for social enterprise and charities with overseeing sport: former ministers Tracey Crouch and Mims Davies also looked after sport between 2017 and 2019. 


Who is Nigel Huddleston?

Comprehensive-educated Huddleston studied politics and economics at Oxford, where he was involved in the Oxford University Conservative Association and was vice-president of the students’ union.

He worked at Deloitte for several years (specialising in tech, media, telecoms, hospitality and travel) before joining Google as industry head of travel in 2011.

He ran unsuccessfully for the Luton South seat in the 2010 general election, and was a councillor with St Albans District Council between 2011 and 2014.

He was elected MP for Mid Worcestershire in 2015, and became assistant government whip in 2019. Whips coordinate the party’s business in parliament and make sure MPs vote in line with the government. According to Huddelston’s website, he then worked closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and DCMS.

He was appointed a minister at DCMS following Boris Johnson’s successful bid to lead the Conservative party in July 2019.

Portrait by Chris McAndrew, CC BY 3.0

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