Cleared Shahid Malik made communities minister

Shahid Malik, former justice minister
Shahid Malik, former justice minister

By Ian Dunt and Alex Stevenson

Former justice minister Shahid Malik has been made communities minister today after he was cleared of breaching ministerial rules in the wake of the expenses scandal.

Mr Malik had drawn criticism over his rental agreements in his constituency, with the Telegraph claiming he paid below-average rent to a local businessman.

No 10 was sufficiently concerned to send the case to standards boss Sir Philip Mawer, who has found in the Dewsbury MP's favour.

"I was angered and hurt by the false allegations in the Telegraph newspaper article and the media frenzy that ensued," he said today.

"Having subsequently read a transcript of the Telegraph interview that led to the article, I have been shocked at just how deeply flawed and inaccurate it was.

"It took me 15 years to build my name and reputation and tragically it was trashed in one mad media day."

Today Downing Street said Sir Philip had found there had not been a breach of the ministerial code of conduct.

To avoid any future uncertainty the prime minister has asked Mr Malik to put his arrangements on a more formal basis, however.

His appointment comes as part of the final stage of Gordon Brown's reshuffle.

It sees promotion to the government, in the form of the parliamentary under secretary of state title, to a number of loyal supporters.

David Kidney becomes an unpaid junior energy and climate change minister. Dan Norris is promoted from PPS to David Miliband to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. And Jonathan Shaw is promoted to work at the Department for Work and Pensions.

A number of government whips have been rewarded with jobs in the government. Ian Lucas has joined Peter Mandelson's new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Claire Ward moves to the Ministry of Justice and Diana Johnson goes to Ed Balls' Department for Children, Schools and Families.

Ian Austin is promoted from PPS to Gordon Brown to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Sion Simon moves from further education minister to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

And Chris Bryant, former deputy leader of the House, is moved to the Foreign Office.

There had been some speculation over the future of junior housing minister Iain Wright. He has moved to DCSF.


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