Norwich MP Chloe Smith given new government role in reshuffle

Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North. - Credit: Neil Didsbury

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith has been given a new role in government, moving from the cabinet office to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Ms Smith, who had been serving as Minister of State for the Constitution and Devolution since February of last year, was moved in the reshuffle this week to become Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work.

In a tweet, Ms Smith said she was "delighted" by the appointment, adding: "I’m passionate about improving the daily lives of disabled people right across the country and it is an exciting challenge as we implement our #NationalDisabilityStrategy. The hard work starts now."

In a statement to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Ms Smith said: “I know from my constituents just how important these issues are.

"I’ve been proud to make a difference locally through Norwich for Jobs which has helped change hundreds of people’s lives through opportunities for those with disabilities or health conditions, and I’m excited to take that experience nationally.” 

The Norwich for Jobs project, launched by Ms Smith in 2013, has undergone several phases over the last eight years in its mission to tackle youth unemployment in the city. 

In July, the project launched a new campaign called 'Our city, our recovery, our futures' which aims to get more Norwich businesses to offer young people the chance to get jobs and experience.

In one of her last duties as Minister for the Constitution, the MP was grilled earlier this week by a House of Commons select committee on controversial plans to introduce voter ID for UK elections, amid claims it could lead to people being disenfranchised. Ms Smith argued the move would make elections more secure.

Baroness Gillian Shephard, former Conservative MP for South West Norfolk, said of Ms Smith: "I think she was doing a vital job in the Cabinet Office around boundary reviews and electoral reform.

Baroness Gillian Shepherd, who served as Conservative MP for South West Norfolk from 1987-2005. 

Baroness Gillian Shepherd, who served as Conservative MP for South West Norfolk from 1987-2005. - Credit: UK Parliament

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"I am sure she will welcome a change to issues which, while not more important, are dealing with real people and problems.

"She will use all the skills she shows in dealing with issues in her constituency to do that.

"And she has achieved this move despite the gruelling time she has had with her health in recent times."

Elected at the age of 27 in a 2009 by-election after the resignation of Labour’s Ian Gibson, Ms Smith was, at the time, the youngest MP in the country. 

Since 2011, she had served under David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson as Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. 

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