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Nautilus looks forward to partnership with new maritime minister

8 September 2020

It's all change again at the Department for Transport, as Witney MP Robert Courts is appointed as the new UK maritime minister.

The move came as part of a mini-reshuffle caused by the sudden resignation of local government minister Simon Clarke MP. As a result, former maritime minister Kelly Tolhurst MP has been moved across to the ministry of housing, communities and local government, with Robert Courts taking her place in what is his first ministerial role.

Nautilus is writing to Mr Courts to request an early meeting and is sharing a copy of the Union's briefing on the UK’s maritime resilience in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

General secretary Mark Dickinson set out his intention to build a positive working relationship with the new minister:

'Mr Courts has taken over at a critical time for the future of the industry and those who work within it,' Mr Dickinson said.

'We remain concerned about the UK’s maritime resilience as the government works on the economic restart and recovery of the economy and look forward to engaging with the new minister on our thoughts on that.

Mr Dickinson thanked Kelly Tolhurst for her hard work and support throughout an extremely difficult time following the Covid-19 outbreak. 'We look forward to engaging with Mr Courts in the same spirit of working in partnership.

'From our continued response to the pandemic and resolving the crew change crisis to the ongoing negotiations for a EU-UK future arrangements and the importance to our industry of a deal on that future relationship, there is a huge amount on the new minister’s desk. We hope to engage in a constructive dialogue as soon as possible, to ensure that our shared priorities will continue to be advanced.'

We hope to engage in a constructive dialogue as soon as possible, to ensure that our shared priorities will continue to be advanced Mark Dickinson, Nautilus International general secretary

Former barrister Robert Courts has served as the MP for Witney in Oxfordshire since 2016, when he held the seat in a by-election following the resignation of former prime minister David Cameron. In August 2019 he was appointed parliamentary private secretary to the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs.

While he has no history of seafaring, he is a scuba diver, interested in the marine environment, and is a member of the Marine Conservation Society. In a 2018 parliamentary debate, he referenced this interest, saying: 'I can see with my own eyes the beauty of the oceans and have a real personal interest in ensuring that they are clean and fit for us and for future generations.'