A criminal law barrister and former Labour-supporting law firm founder are among the new faces at the Ministry of Justice after a sweeping reshuffle of ministerial posts.
After replacing Kenneth Clarke with Christopher Grayling as justice secretary, Downing Street confirmed this morning that ministers Crispin Blunt, Jonathan Djanogly and Nick Herbert would also leave. Replacements named last night include 2010 Westminster entrant Helen Grant (pictured), MP for Maidstone and The Weald, who founded her own solicitors practice 16 years ago.
Currently employing around 15 people, Grants Solicitors focuses on family law and has set up its own free advice service for victims of domestic violence. Previously the London-born mother of two was a clinical negligence solicitor at Hempsons in London and equity partner at Fayers & Co in Wimbledon.
She was a member of the Labour Party until 2006 but left to become the first Conservatives’ first female black MP at the general election. Grant will have also have a role as minister for women’s and equality issues.
Joining Grant at the MoJ will be Jeremy Wright, MP for Kenilworth and Southam since 2005, who was called to the Bar nine years previously. Specialising in criminal law, Wright practised on the Midlands and Oxford circuit. A father of two, he served on the justice committee in opposition and was made a government whip in 2010.
Prisons minister Blunt, who five days ago announced that squatting was to become a criminal offence, returns to the backbenches. Djanogly will join him, after steering the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act to royal assent earlier this year. Neither Blunt nor Djanogly has made any public announcement concerning their departure.
Also leaving the MoJ is Nick Herbert, who had worked in a joint Home Office/MoJ role as police minister and had been tipped for promotion. He tweeted: ‘Decided to step down from Govt. Honoured to have worked with police & driven big reforms. Will focus on new ideas & protecting countryside.’
Damian Green moves from immigration to assume the role, which also includes responsibility for criminal justice. Just two justice ministers survived the reshuffle: Lord McNally, the only Liberal Democrat representative and Dominic Grieve, attorney general.