Despite the government’s re-shuffle taking place almost two weeks ago, the Cabinet Office is yet to announce a replacement for Mark Harper, former Parliamentary Under Secretary for Constitutional and Political Reform.
During the re-shuffle Mr Harper was appointed to the position of Minister of State for Immigration in the Home Office. However, the Cabinet Office has kept his photograph and biography on their website and continue to describe him as being in his former role. Upon phoning the Cabinet Office and House of Commons Information Office neither could shed any light on who his replacement was – both suggesting the other should know.
The recent withdrawal of the bill pushing for an elected House of Lords and the effective concession of maintaining current constituency boundaries seems to indicate that the majority of this government’s constitutional agenda is over. The lack of a replacement for Mr Harper indicates the low priority the Coalition is now placing on these issues.
Nevertheless it is unusual that so far after a re-shuffle no appointment has been made to replace Mr Harper. With issues surrounding Scottish independence and ‘devo max’ as well as continued debate on Europe it seems odd not to have found a suitable replacement.
The Constitution Society wishes Mr Harper all the best for his new portfolio and thanks him for his contribution to the constitutional debates of this parliament. We look forward to working with his successor, as and when he or she is announced.