Former justice minister Sir Oliver Heald confirmed last night that he has left the Ministry of Justice, announcing on Twitter that he had 'been asked to make way for a younger person'. Shortly after the 62-year-old posted his tweet, the government announced that solicitor and 43-year-old Dominic Raab will be returning to the MoJ.
Heald tweeted yesterday evening: 'Enjoyed my time as a justice minister. Great department, great officials. Sad to leave. Have been asked to make way for a younger person.'
Heald's departure raises questions about the future of the Prisons and Courts Bill. As minister of state for courts and justice Heald also announced in January that the government had set the ball rolling on the long-awaited review of its controversial legal aid reforms.
Enjoyed my time as a Justice Minister. Great department, great officials. Sad to leave. Have been asked to make way for a younger person.— Sir Oliver Heald MP (@OliverHeald_MP) June 12, 2017
Raab was parliamentary under secretary of state, minister for human rights between 2015 and 2016. A close ally of former justice secretary Michael Gove, Raab was among the casualties in prime minister Theresa May's ministerial reshuffle last year.
The MoJ announced his return last night.
The Conservative MP for Esher and Walton began his legal career as a business lawyer at magic circle firm Linklaters, working on project finance, international litigation and competition law. He worked at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office between 2000 and 2006.
As the Gazette reported on Sunday, David Lidington, longstanding former Europe minister and leader of the commons, has been appointed lord chancellor and justice secretary.
The first photo of Lidington in his new role emerged yesterday, when he was welcomed to the MoJ by permanent secretary Richard Heaton.
The ministry has yet to confirm when Lidington will be sworn in as lord chancellor.