• Nadine Dorries and Jo Churchill appointed junior ministers
  • Matt Hancock says Ms Dorries brief will include mental health
  • Nicola Blackwood retains role as junior minister in the department

Two new junior ministers, including one covering mental health, have been appointed to the Department of Health and Social Care.

Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, and Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds, were both appointed junior health ministers over the weekend. They replace Jackie Doyle-Price and Seema Kennedy. 

Although the DHSC website has not yet been updated with Ms Dorries’ or Ms Churchill’s briefs, health and social care secretary Matt Hancock tweeted over the weekend that Ms Dorries would be responsible for mental health

Ms Dorries, who is a former nurse, has previously come under public scrutiny for her positions on abortion law. In 2006, she introduced a private members’ bill to, among other things, reduce the time limit for abortion from 24 weeks to 21 weeks. 

Ms Dorries has briefly served on the Commons health committee between July 2010 and June 2011. 

She also appeared on reality TV show I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here and has written a number of fiction books. 

Ms Churchill was previously assistant whip to the government and, before that, served as Parliamentary private secretary to Boris Johnson’s leadership rival Jeremy Hunt when he was health secretary

It was also announced over the weekend that Nicola Blackwood would retain her role as junior minister. She was promoted to the Lords earlier this year, having lost her seat as an MP in the 2017 general election. 

Last week, it was announced Chris Skidmore had been appointed health minister, replacing Stephen Hammond, while Caroline Dinenage would remain as care minister. Mr Hancock also retained his role as health and social care secretary in Wednesday’s cabinet reshuffle