Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

New head for DCMS as Oliver Dowden appointed

Geraldine Kendall Adams, DCMS gets ninth culture secretary in a decade, Museums Association, 13 February 2020

Oliver Dowden appointed after cabinet reshuffle.

Oliver Dowden, new secretary of state.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has a new secretary of state after today’s cabinet reshuffle, with Oliver Dowden replacing Nicky Morgan in the role.

Dowden has been the MP for Hertsmere in Hertfordshire since 2015. He joins the department after serving as minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General since 2019.

Dowden joined the Conservative Research Department in 2004. Following that he spent a brief stint working at PR company Hill & Knowlton, and also served as a special advisor in the Conservative Party and deputy chief of staff to former prime minister David Cameron. He was opposed to Brexit before the 2016 referendum.

Morgan had been in the role since July 2019 and continued despite stepping down as an MP in the general election. Her reappointment was made possible after she was granted a peerage.

Dowden is the ninth culture secretary appointed since the Conservatives came to government in 2010.

His appointment has, for now, allayed concerns that the prime minister Boris Johnson was planning to axe the department. But Dowden could soon face some tough spending choices as all government departments have been asked to model cuts of up to 5% for this year’s budget.

Culture secretaries since 2010

Jeremy Hunt, May 2010-September 2012
Maria Miller, September 2012-April 2014
Sajid Javid, April 2014-May 2015
John Whittingdale, May 2015-July 2016
Karen Bradley, 14 July-2016-January 2018
Matt Hancock, January 2018-July 2018
Jeremy Wright, July 2018-July 2019
Nicky Morgan, July 2019-February 2020

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