Cabinet reshuffle spreads load

HOME Secretary Michael Howard has allocated new responsibilities to his ministers, following the appointment of Tom Sackville as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State.

The department now has five ministers under Howard. Nicholas Baker resigned as Under Secretary of State earlier this year on medical grounds and was replaced by Timothy Kirkhope.

Sackville joined the team last month and will work alongside fellow Under Secretary Kirkhope and Ministers of State David Maclean, Baroness Blatch and Ann Widdecombe.

A Home Office spokesman said Sackville was “an extra minister”, drafted in to help with the legislative workload.

Howard remains personally responsible for Royal matters, security issues, terrorism and the Public Expenditure Survey.

David Maclean looks after police, crime and criminal policy and crime prevention.

Baroness Blatch is responsible for the Lords, probation, fire service, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and identity cards.

Ann Widdecombe oversees prisons, immigration, life sentences and mentally disordered offenders. Kirkhope's areas include gambling, Sunday trading, licensing, race issues, refugee resettlement and miscarriages of justice, and he will support Widdecombe on immigration and Maclean on criminal policy. Sackville is responsible for data protection, obscenity, electoral law, drugs, cults, coroners and bylaws and will support Maclean on crime prevention.