Michelle Donelan becomes tenth culture secretary in 11 years

By Frances Marcellin    07 Sep 2022

Michelle Donelan is the new secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the DCMS / David Woolfall, CC via Wikimedia Commons

Michelle Donelan has been appointed secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport by the UK’s new prime minister, Liz Truss.

As a 15-year-old she spoke at the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool, stating that she wanted a future in politics. She started her political career as an MP in 2015 in Chippenham, Wiltshire following a time working in the media for Marie Claire and That’s Life magazines and in marketing for Sky and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

She held the roles of government whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) from 29 July 2019 to 13 February 2020; minister of state for higher and further education from 15 September 2021 to July 2022; and secretary of state for education for just two days from 5 July to 7 July 2022 under former prime minister Boris Johnson.

As minister for higher and further education, Donelan was focused on capping student loan interest rates and improving mental health services for students.

“This government has prioritised student mental health because we know how important it is for students to feel supported,” she said at the time. “Good mental health can affect their studies, boosting attainment and outcomes and helping them towards their bright futures.”

Donelan is the tenth culture secretary in eleven years. While she is known for her belief in free speech and is against cultural silencing, writing last year that “increasingly university is a place where you are told what to think rather than taught how to think”, it remains to be seen what policies she’ll pursue for the sports, activity and leisure industries.

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