On the morning of Thursday, 23rd May I participated in my final Question and Answer session in the Commons for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
I was unknowingly speaking in the Commons as the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism for the last time as later the same day I was called into Number 10 Downing Street to be offered a promotion to Minister of State for Transport.
During my final DCMS questions I answered questions on how leaving the EU would affect the performing arts, in particular travelling artists; heritage; the retention of historically significant art in the country; and public libraries. I made clear to the Commons that ensuring travel can take place between the UK and the rest of the EU for artists was of high importance for DCMS and that I had personally have had meetings with the Home Office to discuss the matter. I also spoke of my decision to place a temporary export bar on works of art to try to help to keep important pieces of art in the country. I recently exercised this power with regard to the judge’s copy of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” from the famous obscenity trial in 1960 – which picked up significant media attention, as you can see here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48255381.
I also once again reaffirmed this Government’s commitment to ensuring the future of public libraries up and down the country. Whilst I am no longer the minister with responsibility for libraries I will continue to keep an active role in protecting libraries here in Northampton. I even got the chance to congratulate the Speaker on his theatrical performances in the Chamber! (https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/d56254d3-6167-4f87-be2a-b2b61920b4e7?in=09:49:00&out=09:49:58).
I truly loved serving as the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism and I will miss the role. I am of course delighted to have been promoted to Minister of State and I look forward to speaking in the House of Commons Chamber as the Minister of State for Transport.
You can watch the questions asked of me and my answers using the following links:
Retention of art in the UK = https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/d56254d3-6167-4f87-be2a-b2b61920b4e7?in=09:57:51&out=09:59:52.