Simon Hart announced as new Welsh Secretary in cabinet reshuffle

Simon Hart has been announced as the new Secretary of State for Wales, following a government reshuffle.

Mr Hart, who is the MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, is originally from Wolverhampton.

He was made a minister for the first time when Boris Johnson announced him as a parliamentary secretary earlier this year.

Before that, he was one of the leaders of the Brexit Delivery Group, which was a group of MPs that argued for some form of agreement on withdrawal from the European Union.

Mr Hart campaigned to remain in the EU during the 2016 referendum.

Before he became an MP in 2010, he led the Countryside Alliance which campaigns for greater recognition of rural priorities following the Labour government's ban on fox hunting.

He succeeds Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns who resigned from his position as Welsh Secretary on the first day of election campaigning following allegations he lied about his knowledge a former aide played in allegedly sabotaging a rape trial.

Alun Cairns resigned from his role as Welsh Secretary in November Credit: PA Images

According to the government's website, The Secretary of State is responsible for the "overall strategic direction of the UK Government in Wales" whose responsibilities include the economy, investment, infrastructure, the Welsh language and foreign affairs.

Following the announcement, director of the CBI Ian Price welcomed the announcement and said, "He must ensure the Brexit deal works for the thousands of Welsh businesses that employ over 700,000 people right across Wales.

"The Secretary of State should provide clarity on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The poorest communities in Wales need investment that will really make a difference to their everyday lives."

It came as Boris Johnson announced the new members of his cabinet after welcoming 109 new Tory MPs to the House of Commons following last week's general election.

The new intake gives the prime minister a majority of 80 which he will use to get his Brexit bill approved so the UK can leave the EU by the end of January.

One of the Conservatives who won a seat from Labour last week, James Davies in the Vale of Clwyd, has held the seat before. The other five Tories who won formerly Labour seats are new to Westminster, as is Fay Jones, who ended Jane Dodds' brief stint as Lib Dem MP for Brecon and Radnorshire. >The other Welsh changes on the Conservative benches are Craig Williamson becoming MP for Montgomeryshire, two and half years after his defeat in Cardiff North, and Robin Millar, taking over as MP for Aberconwy after his predecessor Guto Bebb's departure. >There are also two new Welsh Labour MPs. Beth Winter has taken over from Ann Clwyd in the Cynon Valley and Alex Davies-Jones has succeeded Owen Smith in Pontypridd.

As the new MPs were welcomed, Brecon and Radnorshire Conservative MP Fay Jones tweeted with fellow MPs Sarah Atherton and Virginia Crosbie who won seats at last week's general election in Wrexham and Ynys Môn respectively.

MPs will be back in the Commons later this week to take their oath of allegiance, but will not be in the role for long before Christmas recess.

Boris Johnson doesn't appear to be wasting any time though as the PM is expected to bring his Brexit bill before the Commons on Friday. It could receive first reading -when it's introduced- and its second reading -when its principles are debated- on the same day.

Boris Johnson is set to bring his Bill back to the Commons on Friday Credit: PA Images

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: “We plan to start the process before Christmas and will do so in the proper constitutional way in discussion with the Speaker.”

The Government would attempt to push the Withdrawal Agreement Bill through its final Commons stages in January, and will hope the Bill then clears the Lords quickly to allow the UK to leave the EU on January 31.

However, approving the legislation will not mean the Brexit saga is over. The UK will remain in the EU until at least the end of 2020 during the implementation period.