UK’s first Muslim minister promoted to Justice

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Shahid Malik has been promoted to Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice.

The MP for Dewsbury said he was relishing the new role.

He became the UK’s first British-born Muslim minister in June 2007 when he was appointed a junior International Development minister.

“I am blessed to have been international development minister for 15 months and was delighted that the Prime Minister had sufficient confidence in me to promote me to the Justice Ministry,” Mr Malik said.

“It will be a great privilege to work alongside Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who is one of the giants of British politics.

“While I have truly loved my international role working to deliver justice for the poorest around the world, I’m now relishing the opportunity to make Britain an even fairer and more just society for all its citizens.”

Mr Malik was elected in 2005. His constituency saw the largest BNP vote in the country.

During the campaign his Tory opponent, Sayeeda Warsi, was criticised because her leaflets sent to white voters contained an anti-immigration theme while those sent to Muslim voters concentrated on homosexuality.

“Labour has scrapped Section 28, which was introduced by the Conservatives to stop schools promoting alternative sexual lifestyles such as homosexuality to children as young as seven years old,” it read.

“Labour reduced the age of consent for homosexuality from 18 to 16, allowing schoolchildren to be propositioned for homosexual relationships.”

Ms Warsi was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet last year by David Cameron and given a seat in the House of Lords.

She said of the leafets, after her appointment to the Social Cohesion brief: “Looking back on it, maybe I could have used much better language than that.”

Gordon Brown has reorganised the government over the weekend, leading to several promotions and some sackings. Parmjit Dharma has lost his job at Communities and Local Government. He has been replaced with Sadiq Khan.

The reshuffle, which saw the surprise return of Peter Mandelson to UK politics as Business Secretary, has been completed but not all details about changes in the lower ranks of ministers have been revealed.

Openly gay MP Chris Byrant is expected to be promoted parliamentary secretary to Harriet Harman, the Leader of the House of Commons.

Barbara Follett, who has been leading efforts on the New Equality Bill with Ms Harman, is to leave her Equalities post to become a junior minister in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. She will replace Margaret Hodge, who has asked to step down for family reasons.

Leftwing MP Jon Trickett is to become the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Private Secretary.

Junior Transport minister Tom Harris has been sacked. He said in an entry in his popular blog that he was disappointed.

“Ministerial jobs come and go, but the role of an MP is more important than any other,” he wrote.

“And of course I will continue to support the government from the backbenches.”

Environment minister Phil Woolas has been appointed to the key Home Office role of immigration minister.

Nick Brown will replace Geoff Hoon as Chief Whip.

He was the Labour government’s first Chief Whip in 1997 and became Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food a year later.

In 2003 he left the government. He is not a member of the Cabinet but has the right to attend.

Cabinet Office minister Ed Miliband is to head a new energy and climate change department.

It will take over the energy duties of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the climate change responsibilities of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The 38-year-old, who was first elected just three years ago, will be joined in Cabinet by Margaret Beckett, who has served as a minister under Labour Prime Ministers Harold Wilson, James Callaghan and Tony Blair.

Her new role as housing minister allows her to attend Cabinet.

The Defence Secretary is to leave the government.

It is understood that Des Browne was offered another role but turned it down. He was also Secretary of State for Scotland.

John Hutton is the new Secretary of State for Defence. Jim Murphy is the new Scottish Secretary.

The Chancellor Alistair Darling, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Schools Secretary Ed Balls, Environment Secretary Hillary Benn and Health Secretary Alan Johnson will all remain in post.

Geoff Hoon is to move from Chief Whip to replace Ruth Kelly at Transport.

Ms Kelly is to stand down as an MP at the next election.

More details of the reshuffle are expected to emerge later today.