Oliver Dowden made new deputy prime minister and Alex Chalk appointed justice secretary

21 April 2023, 13:56 | Updated: 21 April 2023, 14:00

New roles: Oliver Dowden and Alex Chalk
New roles: Oliver Dowden and Alex Chalk. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

A new deputy prime minister and a new justice secretary were named today after the resignation of Dominic Raab.

Oliver Dowden was made deputy PM and Alex Chalk has been appointed as the new justice secretary, Downing Street confirmed.

Mr Dowden has been described as a "key ally" of Rishi Sunak.

Mr Chalk, who is MP for Cheltenham, had previously served as a junior minister at the Ministry of Defence.

Read more: Dominic Raab quits with swipe at 'Kafkaesque' saga after bullying report found he 'insulted and intimidated' officials

Read more: Key findings from the Dominic Raab bullying report

Oliver Dowden has been made Deputy Prime Minister
Oliver Dowden has been made Deputy Prime Minister. Picture: Alamy

He was elected as the Conservative MP for Cheltenham in May 2015 with a majority of just 981. He was first appointed to ministerial office in February 2020 when he became a junior minister in the Ministry of Justice.

His appointment comes after Mr Raab was forced to step down over findings into a report of bullying claims.

The damning bullying probe found Mr Raab acted in an intimidating and aggressive way with officials and concluded he engaged in an “abuse or misuse of power” that “undermines or humiliates”.

Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk has been made justice secretary
Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk has been made justice secretary. Picture: Alamy

No10 said that Rishi Sunak does not regret appointing Dominic Raab as justice secretary.

Asked if the PM regretted the initial appointment, the prime minister's official spokesman said: "No. I think the report makes clear that the former Secretary of State is highly intelligent, pays close attention to detail, seeks to make decisions based on evidence, has strong principles and is guided by them, and works assiduously. So, obviously, the Prime Minister stands by his decision.

"Clearly, this report has established a number of facts and the Prime Minister has come to a judgement."

In his letter to Dominic Raab, Mr Sunak told his former deputy: "It is clear that there have been shortcomings in the historic process that have negatively affected everyone involved. We should learn from this how to better handle such matters in future."

The Prime Minister's official spokesman, asked to add clarity to those comments, said the PM had asked the Cabinet Office to look at how Government "can better learn to handle some of the issues that this report has raised, in terms of how concerns about working practices are raised in a timely manner and how they are dealt with".

"I think that is in the interest of both civil servants and ministers."

No10 rejected calls from the FDA for a wider inquiry into ministerial bullying.