Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst has been tipped to be the next UK maritime minister after the shock departure of Nusrat Ghani.
Ms Ghani was sacked from her role as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport – which included the role of maritime minister – as part of prime minister Boris Johnson's reshuffle on 13 February.
Following her dismissal, the Wealden MP said in a Twitter post: 'Huge privilege to have been Transport Minister and we’ve achieved so much in 2 years. Thanks to the great team in the Dept and now I get to spend more time with family and constituents.'
Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson thanked Ms Ghani for her energetic support for the industry, for supporting the focus on maritime skills and for the Maritime 2050 Strategy.
'She brought clarity and determination to the conversation about our maritime future,’ he said,’ and delivered concrete measures from enhanced SMarT funding and legalisation to underpin fair pay in UK waters. She should be remembered fondly by Nautilus members for her work.'
Ms Tolhurst was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport on 13 February.
She was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy from 19 July 2018 to 13 February 2020 and an assistant government whip for one year in 2018.
As business minister in October 2019 Ms Tolhurst slammed a decision by Peel Ports to close Chatham Docks in 2025 – a port which employs hundreds of people in her constituency.
Peel plans to redevelop the area for housing and leisure facilities.
Other names put forward for the maritime role include MP for Redditch Rachel Mclean, who was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the DfT on 14 February. Baroness Vere of Norbiton and Paul Maynard MP were thought to be outliers.
Andrew Stephenson gained a promotion in the reshuffle to Minister of State in the Department for Transport and rail minister, replacing George Freeman MP who was relegated to the backbenches.