Whittingdale Out Bradley In

All Change at The Top for Culture, Media and Sport

 

John Whittingdale has been fired from his position as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. The move comes as new Prime Minister Theresa May continues her vigorous cabinet shuffle. “[It] has been a privilege to serve as Culture Secretary. I wish my successor every success & will continue to support creative industries.” said Whittingdale on Twitter in his reaction to the news.

 

His successor, Staffordshire Moorlands MP, Karen Bradley had until recently served under Theresa May at the Home Office as Minister for Prevention Abuse, Exploitation and Crime. This will be Bradley's first Cabinet position, and until now not much is known about her plans to tackle the issues she will have to face at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, nor is it clear how she stands regarding her position with the BBC and the upcoming charter renewal process or the privatisation of Channel 4.

 

Whittingdale held his post a little over one year and during that short time he did not do much to foster a sympathetic relationship with the creative industries, expressing as he did a strong desire to get rid of the licensing fee, dissolve the BBC Trust and remove the editorial and commissioning prerogatives from the Beeb's executives. Indeed, when asked if he thought a demise of the BBC could ever be possible, Whittingdale described it as 'a tempting prospect.' And while he later claimed this was a joke, the remark did nothing to soften his profound anti-BBC sentiments.

 

Which is why the industry is thought to welcome, at least for now, Whittingdale's dismissal. But while the changes at the top of the Department for Media, Culture and Sport will be met with a sigh of relief and a flicker of hope, the move does create some difficulties for the BBC in so much as a measure of progress had already been made in its negotiations with Whittingdale regarding the terms and conditions of the charter renewal.

 

The appointment was confirmed in a statement from Number 10, ““The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Karen Bradley MP as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport”

 

Whether or not Theresa May's decision can be read as a substantial shift in government policy remains to be seen--we can recall how it was left to former Prime Minister David Cameron and the Chancellor George Osbourne to guarantee the future of the corporation—and with the appointment of a new Culture Minister now pending, all eyes will be focussed on the UK's second female Prime Minister's next strategic move.

 

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