An MP since 2010, Karen Bradley, whose elevation to the post of Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport was announced earlier this afternoon, is a former Government Whip and Secretary to the influential back bench Conservative 1922 Committee which in political terms makes her a safe pair of hands, and something of a Party insider.
Comprehensive school educated, Mrs Bradley grew up in her parents pub, the Queens Head Hotel in Buxton. She has a BSc in Mathematics from Imperial College London and qualified as a Chartered Accountant, skills she employed in the City of London for twenty years, where she worked as a Senior Tax Manager with Deloitte & Touche and KPMG before entering Parliament.
She is a believer in low taxation and also worked for the Conservative Research Department and the Conservative Policy Unit in the run up to the 2005 General Election under then Leader, Michael Howard.
She has co authored reports on taxation and child care for former Conservative Party Leader and Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith’s Center for Social Justice, and for the right of center free market think tanks, the Centre for Policy Studies, and the Policy Exchange.
She voted “Remain” in the EU referendum and supported Theresa May in the Conservative Leadership campaign.
Her website list her hobbies as walking and cooking.
Karen Bradley has little obvious track record in cultural and sporting areas, and so far there are no significant recorded comments on culture policy, or even whether she likes Star Trek, the hinterland of the previous Secretary of State who came from a business background, Sajid Javid. However, as MP for a largely rural constituency in Staffordshire, she has expressed an interest in another of the DCMS’s areas of responsibility rural broadband. Her appointment is likely to be more to do with the fact that she is demonstrably competent, a low tax and low spend conservative, and a Theresa May loyalist. As such, while she did break ranks to vote to reform the House of Lords and voted in support of Equal Marriage, she has generally voted against Bills promoting human rights. She also opposed smoking bans.
Given all this it is likely that cultural and heritage bodies and organisations are will be booking early appointments and issuing invitations to the new Secretary of State in the hope she will be in post long enough to enjoy it, and even begin to go native, rather than simply use the post as a convenient parking space on the way up the ministerial ladder.