The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has appointed James Morris, Conservative MP for Halesowen and Rowley Regis, West Midlands, as the new minister for primary care — a role that usually holds responsibility for community pharmacy.
Morris’s appointment follows a government reshuffle, after 60 MPs resigned from their government jobs on 5 July 2022, including former health and social care secretary Sajid Javid.
In the reshuffle, Maria Caulfield, who was parliamentary under secretary of state (minister for patient safety and primary care) from September 2021 to July 2022, was appointed as minister of state at the DHSC on 7 July 2022.
Morris was appointed as parliamentary under secretary of state in her place on 8 July 2022, with the DHSC confirming his remit on 11 July 2022.
He was previously a government whip between 14 February 2020 and 8 July 2022 and assistant government whip from 29 July 2019 to 14 February 2020.
Morris has a limited voting record on health issues but has chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health and sat on the Communities and Local Government Select Committee during his time in parliament.
Prior to becoming an MP in 2010, Morris ran a small computer software business.
As part of the reshuffle, Steve Barclay has taken over as health and social care secretary from his role as chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and minister for the cabinet office.
Assuming that community pharmacy remains part of his portfolio, Morris has become the sixth minister to take on the pharmacy remit in five years. Steve Brine held the role from June 2017 until March 2019, but resigned to vote against a government three-line whip on Brexit. Brine was succeeded by Seema Kennedy, who was in post from April 2019 until July 2019.
In August 2019, Kennedy was replaced by Jo Churchill, who held the position until she was replaced briefly by Maggie Throup on 16 September 2021. However, Throup was quickly reinstated as the minister for vaccines and public health on 23 September 2021, with Caulfield taking her place.