Sunday 19 September 2021 10:05 am

Man of the match: Former saboteur Michael Gove expands Whitehall empire dramatically

One-time saboteur Michael Gove dramatically expanded his Whitehall empire this week, after emerging as one of the big winners in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet reshuffle.

Gove, who was given the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, has seen his department renamed the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – underlining its central roll in delivering the Government’s agenda.

At the same time former Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane has been appointed head of a new levelling up taskforce formed jointly by Gove and the Prime Minister.

In addition, Downing Street said Gove was being given the title of Minister for Intergovernmental Relations with responsibility for UK governance and elections and co-ordinating with the devolved administrations.

Announcing the appointments, Johnson said: “This Government is committed to uniting and levelling up every part of the UK and I am determined that as we build back better from the pandemic we are geared up with the teams and expertise to deliver on that promise.

“Andy is uniquely qualified to lead our efforts to raise living standards, spread opportunity, improve our public services and restore people’s sense of pride in their communities.

“I look forward to working with him, and with my new ministerial team, to deliver the opportunities this country needs.”

Gove said he was “thrilled” to be taking on the Levelling Up agenda, which he described as “the defining mission of this Government”.

“With a superb team of ministers and officials in a new department, our relentless focus will be on delivering for those overlooked families and undervalued communities across the United Kingdom,” he said.

“We have a unique opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Haldane, who is joining the Cabinet Office on a six month secondment from the Royal Society of Arts, where he is chief executive, said: “Levelling up the UK is one of the signature challenges of our time.

“It has also been a personal passion throughout my professional career so I am delighted and honoured to be making a contribution to this crucial objective.”