North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald sacked from justice ministry as Theresa May reshuffles cabinet

North East Hertfordshire Sir Oliver Heald. Picture: John Francis

North East Hertfordshire Sir Oliver Heald. Picture: John Francis - Credit: Archant

North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald has been sacked as courts and justice minister amid Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle.

Sir Oliver, who was a practising barrister and QC until he joined John Major’s government as a parliamentary under-secretary of state in 1995, said he had been “asked to make way for a younger person”.

The 62-year-old from Royston has been replaced as courts and justice minister by former solicitor Dominic Raab, 43, who is MP for Esher and Walton in Surrey.

Sir Oliver had held the position since July last year, and was previously Solicitor General for England and Wales from 2012 to 2014.

He tweeted last night: “Enjoyed my time as a justice minister. Great department, great officials. Sad to leave.

“Have been asked to make way for a younger person.”

Sir Oliver was elected as MP for North Hertfordshire in 1992, and has held the North East Herts seat since the boundaries were redrawn in 1997.

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He was comfortably re-elected in last week’s General Election, seeing off all comers with 58.6 per cent of the vote.

He said afterwards: “It’s a privilege to represent this area and I’ll certainly be standing up for it in parliament. I’m very honoured and privileged to be elected again.

“I think in terms of the overall campaign, the Conservatives were trying to do something and will have to reflect on how well that worked.

“It was an election about Brexit in many ways, and the country now has the challenge of Brexit.”

Sir Oliver – who campaigned for a Remain vote during last year’s EU referendum – had been in charge of Brexit negotiations in the Channel Islands, tasked with giving the crown dependencies a voice during the process of Britain’s leaving the European Union.

He was one of four ministers sacked by Theresa May last night. The others were Brexit minister David Jones, armed forces minister Mike Penning and apprenticeships minister Robert Halfon.

The Prime Minister’s Office has yet to respond to this paper’s request for comment.