Bim Afolami, the MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, has been appointed to the role of Economic Secretary to the Treasury in the ministerial reshuffle.

The role is often referred to as the City Minister, with responsibility for financial services policy, including regulation.

Mr Afolami said: "I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed as Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

"At a time of challenge and opportunity for the UK economy, I look forward to working with the chancellor and the prime minister to deliver on our plan to get inflation down and tackle the cost of living.

"My new role has a particular focus on financial services - a jewel in the crown for the UK and a key employer in Hitchin, Harpenden and our villages - and I look forward to working closely with the industry as we deliver for this vital British industry."

Mr Afolami has an extensive background in finance - he worked in the city for ten years prior to becoming an MP, as a corporate lawyer and senior executive, and has held a number of finance-related roles during his time in politics.

He chairs the Financial Markets and Services All Party Parliamentary Group and the Regulatory Reform Group (RRG), which has made recommendations on how regulatory policy could be adjusted in areas including financial services.

Mr Afolami has, however, been criticised for initially failing to declare that he was paid for his work as chair of the RRG. He now works for the group in an unpaid capacity.

It is the first time Mr Afolami has been appointed to a ministerial role, though he has previously served as parliamentary private secretary to multiple ministers, including Liz Truss (as Foreign Secretary and International Trade), Therese Coffey (Work and Pensions) and Nadine Dorries (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport).

The national headlines, meanwhile, were dominated by the sacking of Suella Braverman as home secretary, and the return to the Cabinet of former prime minister David Cameron, who is now foreign secretary. James Cleverly has been moved from foreign secretary to home secretary.

Reaction from politicians in Hitchin

Chris Lucas, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Hitchin

"This is yet more ‘rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic’ from a broken Tory government. The ex Home Secretary was never fit for the job in the first place and should have been sacked long ago, but for the PM’s cowardice. She now joins the long list of ex-Ministers, and they’re so short of personnel that they had to bring back a disgraced former PM to fill a senior cabinet role.

"From 350 elected MPs, Sunak can’t find one able to be Foreign Secretary, so he has to bring back an unelected former PM? That really is scrapping the bottom of the barrel.

"The Tories are more focused on ‘in-fighting’ than on governing, as the revolving door in Downing Street shows. Their claim that after 13 years they are now making ‘long term plans’ is laughable. They need to put us all out of our misery and call a general election now.

"Given this government’s terrible record on the economy and the city, which have both suffered badly from the disastrous Brexit deal, Mr Afolami will have a tough job at the Treasury."

Elizabeth Dennis, Labour councillor for Hitchin Walsworth

“While the sacking of Suella Braverman comes as a relief, let’s be under no illusions; this is a government that remains out of touch and is out of ideas. Bringing back David Cameron, the man who failed to get a grip on the economy, imposed the austerity that lead to the cost of living crisis, and lost the Brexit argument with his party and the country proves this. 

"Rishi Sunak’s reshuffle isn’t progress. It’s a prime minister under fire, having a final throw of the dice before inevitable defeat. It’s a desperate attempt to create the illusion of competence to mask chaos.

"There have been 16 Housing Ministers over the last 13 years. Is there any wonder the Conservatives have failed to get a grip on the housing crisis and we still lack the powers in local government to build the homes our communities need?

"I congratulate Hitchin’s MP Bim Afolami on his appointment as Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

"As Mr Afolami takes up his new post I hope he is mindful of his duty to constituents, and ordinary hard working people across the country, and places their interests ahead of any lobbying organisations.”

Reaction from across North Hertfordshire and Stevenage

Sir Oliver Heald, Conservative MP for North East Hertfordshire

Sir Oliver told the Comet that he was "pleased" to see the appointments of Mr Cleverly as home secretary and Vicky Atkins as health secretary.

He said that Mr Cleverley "has been a success as foreign secretary" and "is firm, has an ex-military background, [and] is measured and effective".

On the most unexpected addition to the Cabinet, Sir Oliver said: "I was surprised to see that David Cameron has come back to frontline politics and he does bring huge experience and knowledge of overseas’ leaders.

He continued: "Steve Barclay will bring an efficient approach to the Environment brief, where it essential to get the new agricultural and environmental schemes working effectively to incentivise nature restoration, food production and regenerative agriculture.

"Of course, there are ministers who have lost out, such as Suella Braverman, but there is a limit and the Prime Minister is entitled to a united team."

Alex Clarkson, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Stevenage

"I am excited about the ministerial re-shuffle and the first meeting of the new strong and united Cabinet today. 

"The contrast couldn't be clearer. The choice for my home town at the next general election is between a team who are willing to take the long-term decisions needed for a brighter future or a team who campaigned for Jeremy Corbyn to become prime minister, not once, but twice!

"Lord Cameron is a world statesman who will champion British interests, Vicky Atkins will work tirelessly to cut waiting lists, Esther McVey will champion working people and James Cleverly will stop the boats. Their opposite numbers in the Labour Party stood with Jeremy Corbyn in two general elections.

"When I compare the team around our Prime Minister with the team around Sir Keir, it seems obvious to me only one team can be trusted to shape Britain's future and that’s the Conservative one."

Kevin Bonavia, Labour parliamentary candidate for Stevenage

"Suella Braverman had to go after she deliberately stoked hatred and undermined the police. 

He continued: "But it was Rishi Sunak who made her Home Secretary again after she had to resign in disgrace under Liz Truss. This mess is wholly of his own making and it smacks of weakness.

"And now he brings back David Cameron, the first of the five Tory prime ministers since 2010. Yet only last month, Rishi Sunak desperately tried to claim he himself represented change after 30 years - this is hopelessly confused stuff from someone supposed to be leading the country.

"The only way to bring about real change is to call a general election. Only then will we finally be able to end this poor excuse for government and give Labour a chance to get the country moving in the right direction."