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ConLib government shakes up BIS tree

Pulls on big briefs

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The secretary of state for business, innovation and skills (BIS) outlined his department's responsibilities in the UK's newly-formed coalition government today.

LibDem MP Vince Cable said that David Willetts, who is now the minister of state for universities and science, has taken on a broad portfolio that includes overseeing the Technology Strategy Board, National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and the Energy Technologies Institute.

Willetts will also be responsible for, among other things, science and research, life sciences and space.

The Tory MP was handed the brief in an apparent snub to Adam Afriyie, who had been on the science and technology select committee until it was ditched in 2007. He was also a regular spokesman for the Conservative Party on issues such as the Digital Economy Bill, which he voted for in the wash-up period of the last Parliament.

Afriyie was re-elected in the general election, and prior to that he was the Conservative Party's shadow science and innovation minister.

Meanwhile Baroness Wilcox, who is the BIS parliamentary secretary for business, will look after the department's affairs in the House of Lords, including intellectual property and its office.

Separately it was confirmed yesterday that Tory MP Ed Vaizey would report directly to Cable on the digital economy and telecommunications.

This way for the full BIS lineup. ®

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