Chris Grayling has been ousted as transport secretary after three years in the job, with new prime minister Boris Johnson replacing him with Grant Shapps.
Shapps’ appointment could prove controversial, as he resigned as minister for international development following allegations he ignored warnings about bullying when he was party co-chairman.
Shapps, born in Watford and educated at a local grammar school, studied business and finance at Manchester Polytechnic. He is a former “Remainer” but has since put his weight behind Brexit. He is currently MP for Welwyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire.
In addition, Shapps is the chair of the General Aviation All-Party Parliamentary Group and chair of the British Infrastructure Group of Parliamentarians.
Grayling leaves behind a troubled legacy, including his decision to award a multi-million-pound contract to a ferry company that had no ferries, the introduction of a new rail timetable that led to weeks of chaos for commuters, allowing Virgin Trains and Stagecoach to back out of a franchise contract for the East Coast Main Line, and several delays to the Crossrail project.
Johnson’s new cabinet met for the first time Thursday morning after he won a leadership contest to become prime minister earlier this week.
Johnson himself has previously been strongly opposed to major transport infrastructure projects, including a third runway at Heathrow. He once famously vowed to lie in front of bulldozers in order to stop expansion at the airport. However, fellow Conservative party members reportedly claim he has since changed his views on the controversial project.