THE government reshuffle, which was announced on Tuesday, has
been watched closely by faith groups and aid agencies.
Baroness Warsi, who was co-chairman of the Conservative Party,
has been appointed Senior Minister for Faith and Communities.
Earlier this year, she called for Christians to be more confident
in the face of "militant secularisation" (News, 17
Lynne Featherstone, who as Equalities Minister has been driving
the Government's consultation on the introduction of civil marriage
for same-sex couples (News, 23
September 2011), has moved to a post at the Department for
International Development (DFID).
Derek McAuley, the chief officer of the General Assembly of
Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, said that Ms Featherstone's
departure would "bring uncertainty" about plans to introduce
Justine Greening, who was Transport Secretary, has replaced
Andrew Mitchell as International Development Secretary.
The director of Christian Aid, Loretta Minghella, welcomed Ms
Greening's new appointment, but said that Christian Aid remained
"impatient to see the Government be more ambitious, especially in
helping to end aid-dependency. Aid alone will never end poverty, so
we'd like to see DfID implement a credible exit strategy from
Tearfund's parliamentary officer, Rosanne White, warned that the
Government's commitments to global poverty "must not be drowned out
by short-term political point-scoring, or in appeasing the concerns
of staunch party members. Let's hope that Justine Greening has the
bottle to stand her ground."
The World Development Movement said in a statement that, under
Mr Mitchell's leadership, British aid policy had taken "an alarming
turn towards promoting the interests of business over the needs of
the world's poorest people. . .
"Justine Greening's previous support for tough climate-change
laws suggests a stronger commitment to justice than her
predecessor. Her challenge will be to reverse the direction taken
by Andrew Mitchell, and to ensure that aid is truly a contribution
to global equity, not a business opportunity."
The appointment of Chris Grayling as Justice Secretary was
welcomed by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), a Right-leaning
think-tank. The managing director of the CSJ, Christian Guy, said
that he was sure that Mr Grayling would "continue the Government's
drive to cut reoffending and slow the revolving-door culture that
has blighted the country's criminal-justice system over the
The Prison Reform Trust urged Mr Grayling "to build on the
important programme of justice reform" begun by his predecessor,
Ken Clarke, now Minister without Portfolio.