Nicky Morgan defends u-turn which led her to working for Boris Johnson

PUBLISHED: 09:28 17 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:30 17 January 2020

Nicky Morgan is sworn in as a member of the House of Lords. Photograph: House of Lords.

Nicky Morgan is sworn in as a member of the House of Lords. Photograph: House of Lords.

PA Wire/PA Images

Culture secretary Nicky Morgan has defended her decision to u-turn on her claim she would never serve in a Boris Johnson cabinet.

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Baroness Morgan had initially ruled out serving in a government led by Johnson in the run-up to his election as leader, but less than a year later relented to take on the job as head of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The former education secretary stood down as an MP at the election, but was appointed a peer in order to continue her cabinet role.

She shrugged off criticisms regarding her u-turn and a decision to accept the peerage from Boris Johnson.

She told The House magazine that the public expected "politicians to be able to put aside their differences and get things done".

"My view is that I took the role in Cabinet when the Prime Minister offered it on the basis that I think it's really important to have a variety of voices around the table with different views on the Conservative Party, different views on Brexit, and the prime minister understands and respects that," she said.

"I also think that if you're asked to serve your country and Parliament then you should say yes, unless there's a very good reason to say no.

"The lesson from the last three-and-a-half years, and from the general election, is the country expects its politicians to be able to put aside their differences and get things done on their behalf. I hope that I've been able to show that this is possible."

She deflected a question on whether she was simply "keeping the seat warm" for her successor at the department, with Johnson reportedly planning a Cabinet reshuffle once Brexit is delivered on January 31.

"I'm not sure that the department would think that it's a holding pattern," the former Loughborough MP replied.

"The expectation is that he will want to have a refresh of his team in February - that's obviously a matter for the prime minister."

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