Confessed swot is new junior minister

10th October 2008 at 01:00
Former accountant takes over in department

England's new junior schools minister is a former chartered accountant who has described her main political interests as trade and industry, defence and the social economy.

From now on Sarah McCarthy-Fry, 53, who was elected MP for Portsmouth North in 2005, will have to get to grips with the intricacies of school admissions, the national curriculum and special educational needs.

She was educated at Portsmouth High, then a state grammar, where she says she was "a bit of a swot, but later a rebel". However, the mother of two children and two stepchildren, all grown-up, has yet to demonstrate her rebellious streak in Parliament, where she has never voted against the Government.

She is a fan of The Who, enjoys tap-dancing and amateur dramatics, and has described her fashion sense as "hippy dippy".

A reorganisation of ministerial responsibilities at the DCSF means she will not take over the academies brief from Lord Adonis. That goes instead to Jim Knight, the more senior schools minister, in a move that has reassured some academy sponsors who were concerned that an inexperienced minister would lack political "leverage".

Kevin Brennan, the former junior children's minister, has been moved to the Cabinet Office and replaced by Baroness Delyth Morgan. The Blairite peer moves from the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills where she was also a junior minister. She made her name as the chief executive of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity.

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