Jeremy Wright has become the third Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport this year, following Matt Hancock’s departure to the Department for Health.
Hancock’s move follows a six month stint at the top of DCMS and a series of ministerial resignations over the government’s Brexit proposals. He replaced Karen Brady in January.
Wright, MP for Kenilworth and Southam, joins DCMS from his position as Attorney General, the chief legal adviser to the Crown.
In his new role, Wright will be tasked with overseeing government policy on social media, data and artificial intelligence. But some have already cast doubt on whether he is qualified to take up the role.
According to Hansard, the politician has rarely passed comment on digital issues in parliament, and some politicians have poked fun at his sporadic Twitter presence.
“Congratulations to Jeremy Wright, my third Secretary of State at DCMS who is in charge on Culture, Media, Sport and Digital,” said shadow culture secretary Tom Watson. “I can’t find him on the digital medium of Twitter but I’m sure that’s just an oversight.”
After Wright’s inactive Twitter account was identified, Labour MP Darren Jones replied: “Five tweets! I wonder what his views are on machine learning algorithms?”
DCMS was rebranded as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport last year to reflect a revised remit including digital policy. In the months since, it has created a new Government Office for AI and been tasked with leading the government’s AI agenda.
Hancock has also led the government’s charge against what he called the “wild west of the internet”, while introducing the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation into UK law.
While many in the industry welcomed the adoption of GDPR, some have challenged whether the government is doing enough to protect the UK’s tech sector after Brexit.
Writing for NS Tech yesterday, Tech London Advocates founder Russ Shaw said: “The proposed regulatory divergence in trade in services has done little to instill a sense of certainty within the tech sector and could spell disaster if rejected by Brussels.”
In a Facebook post commenting on his appointment, Wright said: “Very excited to be starting a new job this morning as Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, a department whose work has a huge impact on our heritage, the things we enjoy now and on our national future.”