Prime Minister's cabinet reshuffle sees him swap one former Blackpool pupil for another
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But also amongst Sunak’s third juggle of cabinet posts since taking office in October 2022, the prime minister has directly swapped one Blackpool school pupil for another!
Following the latest shake up, Lytham St Anne’s born Steve Barclay MP has lost his position as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which he has held since October last year.
Steve, who attended King Edward VII School in Lytham has been replaced by fellow Blackpool privately educated MP, Victoria Atkins, whose father is the former Preston North (1979-83) then South Ribble MP (1973-1997) Sir Robert Atkins.
Although 47-year old Victoria was born in London, she was educated at the Arnold School in Blackpool, which also boasts actresses Jenna Coleman and Nicola Thorp as well Pet Shop Boy’s Chris Lowe amongst its alumni.
In fact both King Edward VII School and Arnold School no longer exist as they did in the two MP’s former school’s days, as they, alongside Queen Mary School for Girls, amalgamated to form AKS Lytham, a co-educational independent school on Clifton Drive South, in 2012.
51-year-old Steve has now been appointed as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, taking over from Thérèse Coffey who resigned from the post – which she had held since October 2022 – on November 13.
Despite both Steve and Victoria having links with the Blackpool area, neither represent constituents nearby, instead the former has been MP for North East Cambridgeshire since 2010 and the latter has been MP for Louth and Horncastle in Lincolnshire since 2015.
The youngest of three brothers, Steve attended Ansdell County Primary School and King Edward VII School in St Annes before becoming one of the first in his family to go to university, reading history at Cambridge.
He and his two older brothers played for Fylde Rugby Club, and his father coached junior rugby there for more than three decades.
Meanwhile Victoria grew up in London but attended Arnold School from primary school age upwards before studying law at Cambridge.
Victoria is reported to visit the Blackpool area often to visit her family who still live nearby – her father Sir Robert and mother Lady Dulcie are both Conservative Wyre Councillors for Garstang.