When the UK’s new Prime Minister, Elizabeth Truss, came to power on 6 September 2022, she wasted no time in forming a completely new Cabinet to help her govern the country. Obviously a key appointment for the business travel industry is that of Secretary of State for Transport.
The job has gone to The Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP.
In this biography article, we try to get to know Trevelyan a little better, by exploring her background, beliefs and past experiences in order to better understand what her appointment could mean for the business travel industry.
In A Nutshell…
Name: Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Position: Secretary of State for Transport
The Secretary of State is responsible for:
- overall responsibility for the policies of the Department for Transport
- cabinet responsibility for the Northern Powerhouse
- oversight of departmental COVID-19 responsibilities
Anne-Marie Trevelyan was first elected to Parliament as the MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed in May 2015, gaining the seat from the Liberal Democrats. She has subsequently increased her majority at every election since. Within Westminster and Whitehall, Anne-Marie is seen as a safe pair of hands, and is a Boris-loyalist, having supported his 2019 leadership bid and served as a Minister and Secretary of State in his administration.
A strong supporter of Brexit, Trevelyan was an active member of the European Research Group of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs prior to her ministerial appointments.
She has held several ministerial positions including as Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Defence from July 2019 to December 2019 and Minister for the Armed Forces from December 2019 to February 2020.
She was promoted to be Secretary of State for International Development from February to September 2020 but lost this role when the Department for International Development merged with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
Trevelyan served as Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy holding this position from January 2021 to September 2021.
She is seen as ‘business-friendly’ and has been happy to engage with businesses and to take soundings on policy. In her role as Energy Minister, she championed further research and innovation in the run-up to COP26 and regularly took part in site visits.
In the September 2021 reshuffle, Anne-Marie was appointed Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade.
A chartered accountant by trade, she has also sat on the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee from July 2015 to May 2017 and December 2018 to July 2019.
Originally a backer of Tom Tugendhat in the leadership election, Trevleyan then endorsed Liz Truss and has been rewarded with the position of Secretary of State for Transport.
Views on Transport
In June 2022, Trevelyan condemned what she described as “Labour-backed rail” strikes, in her role as Berwick-upon-Tweed MP, and stated that those working in Edinburgh and Newcastle will struggle to get to work She included a Tory Call for Action which would condemn these strikes. However, when former Secretary of State Grant Shapps entered a motion for the House of Commons to condemn the rail strikes this summer, a motion overwhelmingly favoured by Conservatives, Anne-Marie abstained her vote. This could be construed as a positive sign for the ongoing tug-of-war between the government and unions.
In her new office, Trevelyan is almost certain to grant the development consent order (DCO) for the dualling of the A1 between Morpeth and Ellingham. This is an upgrade that she has been campaigning for since before becoming an MP, having set up the Dual the A1 campaign group as far back as 2007. She is due to announce whether she gives the green light to the DCO on or before 5 December.
Going back, her first HS2-related vote in Parliament was for the third reading of the High-Speed Rail (London to West Midlands) bill in March 2016. She voted along party lines to dismiss three suggested clauses to be added: to allow public sector operators, to create an Office of the HS2 Adjudicator, and to build an integrated HS2 / Crossrail 2 station at Euston. She also voted positively both the second and third readings of the High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) bill, which took place in January 2018 and July 2019 respectively.
In June 2018, Trevelyan like most Conservatives, voted in favour of the motion to adopt the new Airports National Policy Statement. This essentially gave the green light for Heathrow and Gatwick’s new runways. Given that the government’s recently published Jet Zero Strategy re-affirmed its commitment to “justified” airport expansions, it seems unlikely that she will be looking to change course on this issue.
As Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change said in October 2021, “Economic growth and tackling the challenge of climate change go hand in hand. Finding solutions to those polluting methods of travel is a key area where the UK is leading with innovative businesses, and coming up with solutions regarding aviation fuel, or looking at clean shipping.”
In April 2021, Trevelyan said we have “committed to include international aviation and shipping emissions in the Sixth Carbon Budget and will bring forward legislative proposals in due course.”
During her time as a backbencher in May 2018, Ms Trevelyan praised the decision by the Government to bring the east coast main line back into public control, arguing that as the northernmost constituency in England she was aware of how crucial transport infrastructure was to business investment in the north.
She has also campaigned for the reopening of Belford station in her constituency arguing that good rail links bring investment and economic growth and therefore investment in rail infrastructure should continue.
She has complained in the House, in 2016, about the lack of bus networks in Northumberland and called for investment in rural transport networks.
In September 2022, she welcomed the Government’s decision to cap bus fares at £2 in England and reiterated her views that local transport links form the “transport spine” of many communities across the country.
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