Chris Grayling has today (14 July) been appointed transport secretary by the new prime minister, Theresa May – despite earlier reports suggesting that the Department for Transport may be shut down.
Mr Grayling, who held the role of shadow transport minister from 2005-07, replaces Patrick McLoughlin after he was named the new Conservative Party chairman in the cabinet reshuffle. Mr McLoughlin had served as transport secretary since September 2012.
As yet, there is no news as to whether the current roads and road safety minister, Andrew Jones, will remain in post.
Earlier in the day, The Telegraph had reported that the DfT, along with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Energy and Climate Change, were to be closed and replaced by two new departments – one for infrastructure and one for industry.
Chris Grayling moves to the DfT from his role as justice secretary, a position he had also held since September 2012.
Mr Grayling was first elected as a MP in 2001 and has since then represented the constituency of Epsom and Ewell.
After the Conservatives’ success at the 2010 election, he was appointed minister of state for employment, a position he held until his move to justice secretary in 2012.
In May 2015, he was also appointed leader of the House of Commons, a position he will now vacate.
As part of the shadow cabinet, Mr Grayling also held the position of shadow leader of the House of Commons (2005), shadow secretary of state for work and pensions (2007-09) and shadow home secretary (2009-10).
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has welcomed Mt Grayling’s appointment.
David Davies, executive director of PACTS, said: “We welcome Chris Grayling to the post of secretary of state for transport and wish him success.
"While transport may not be top of the Whitehall pecking order, it is hugely important to the economy, the environment and to our quality of life. It is a very capable and professional department with considerable technical expertise and knowledge.
“The UK has a good record on transport safety – for air, rail and road. But whereas deaths from air and rail accidents have been reduced to very small numbers, road traffic remains the UK’s biggest single killer of young people and the biggest risk most of us face in our daily lives.
“We urge the new secretary of state to reaffirm the Government’s commitment to reducing the number of road users killed and seriously injured every year. We also urge him to ensure adequate resources to deliver the valuable actions in the British Road Safety Statement (December 2015). These actions are not radical or controversial but require strong leadership to work across government departments and with multiple organisations and disciplines. PACTS will do all it can to assist.”