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Melksham MP Michelle Donelan is new Culture Secretary

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MELKSHAM MP Michelle Donelan has been appointed Culture Secretary in Prime Minister Liz Truss’s new cabinet.

She replaces Nadine Dorries as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and at 38 is one of the youngest members of the new cabinet.

She will have a busy in-tray to deal with including the BBC licence fee, Channel 4 privatisation, regulating tech giants and how to attract more major international sports events to Britain.

Michelle was Minister of State for Higher and Further Education in Boris Johnson’s government from February 2020 to July of this year before being promoted to Education Secretary on 5th July, only to resign 36 hours later in the days before Johnson agreed to step down as prime minister.

She backed her former boss, Nadhim Zahawi, and then Penny Mordaunt in the leadership race before switching her support to Liz Truss.

The future of the BBC and the licence fee is likely to be high on her agenda in her new job.

In July 2019 in her regular column in Melksham News she said the licence fee was an ‘unfair tax’, criticised the high salaries being paid to presenters and executives and said the BBC was failing older viewers in collecting licence fee money from the over-75s.

She wrote, “I was outraged by the BBC’s decision to revoke free TV Licences for the over-75s. Personally I think the licence fee is an unfair tax and should be scrapped all together, but that is a different debate.

“The BBC have acted appallingly and I am determined to do everything in my power to change their mind…I am so very disappointed that the BBC has now abdicated its responsibility to over 75s, especially as BBC salaries have sky-rocketed since 2015 with a huge number of BBC employees earning six or seven-figure salaries funded by the licence fee!”

Michelle launched a petition to reverse the over-75s decision on Facebook and through her Melksham News column.

Prior to becoming MP in 2015, she worked as a marketing executive for the History Channel and as international marketing communications manager for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

Her roles in government have included Minister of State for Higher and Further Education from September 2021 to July 2022; Minister for Universities at the Department for Education from February 2020 and Government Whip from July 2019 to February 2020.

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