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Cameron appoints minister for 'northern powerhouse'

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A minister dedicated to the ‘northern powerhouse’ is among two appointments to the Department for Communities & Local Government this morning.

Under the post-election cabinet reshuffle, prime minister David Cameron announced that James Wharton had been made parliamentary under-secretary of state for communities and local government (northern powerhouse) in what is a newly created role.

Mr Wharton was elected Conservative MP for Stockton South in May 2010, and made headlines in 2013 when he introduced a Private Member’s Bill calling for a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. The bill failed to pass through the House of Lords.

Meanwhile, Marcus Jones is to be parliamentary under-secretary of state for communities and local government. The Nuneaton MP is a former leader of Nuneaton & Bedworth BC and was first elected to parliament in 2010.

He chairs the all-party parliamentary group for town centres and has recently called for councils that do not have a local plan in place to be put into special measures.

The junior ministers join the new DCLG ministerial team under communities secretary Greg Clark. Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford in Essex, was also appointed as a junior minister in the reshuffle yesterday. He was first elected in 2001, after beating Boris Johnson to be selected for the safe Conservative seat, and served as armed forces minister in the last parliament.

Elsewhere, Jeremy Hunt will continue as health secretary and Edward Timpson will continue in his role as children and families minister at the Department for Education. A family law barrister before he was elected to parliament in a 2008 by-election, his responsibilities include child protection, adoption and school sports.

Alistair Burt has been named as the new care minister at the DH, the post held before the general election by Lib Dem Norman Lamb. His previous posts include deputy chair of the Conservative Party, and he was a junior minister at the foreign and commonwealth office from 2010-13. Since 2013 he has not been in government.

He has been MP for North East Bedfordshire since 2001 and prior to that he was MP for Bury North between 1983 and 1997. He was also a minister during the 1990s at the Department of Social Security.

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