James Timpson leaves charity chair role to take up ministerial post

09 Jul 2024 News

Prisons minister James Timpson

Lauren Hurley / No 10 Downing Street

Shoe repair firm boss James Timpson has stepped down as chair of the Prison Reform Trust to take up a ministerial role in Keir Starmer’s government.

Starmer appointed Timpson, chief executive of the namesake high street retailer, as prisons minister last week as part of his first cabinet.

Timpson, who began as the Prison Reform Trust’s chair in 2016, stepped down from the role immediately after his appointment to the cabinet and the House of Lords.

“As the Prison Reform Trust is a charity independent of government or any political affiliation, James stood down as chair immediately following his appointment to his new ministerial position,” the charity said in a statement.

As CEO of his family company, Timpson has long campaigned for prison reform and had a policy of employing former prisoners.

Former Prince’s Trust CEO and director of strategic communications at No10 during Gordon Brown’s premiership, Nick Stace, had already been appointed to succeed Timpson as chair and has taken the role up early.

Timpson ‘really understands the voluntary sector’

Anne Fox, CEO of criminal justice charity Clinks, said: “We’re delighted that James Timpson has been asked to take on this role at a time when the criminal justice system is facing such immense challenges.

“James really understands the voluntary sector and its vital role, and we’re looking forward to working with him and the new ministerial team at the Ministry of Justice.

“The voluntary sector stands ready to offer its expertise in the months ahead.”

‘Ambitious plans’

Pia Sinha, chief executive of the Prison Reform Trust (PRT), said: “Nick’s deep understanding of the sector, combined with his track record of excellence, makes him a formidable new chair for PRT.

“I would also like to thank James Timpson for his inspirational leadership, support, wisdom and generosity during his tenure.

“These solid foundations will allow Nick, me and the team to deliver our ambitious plans in the years to come.”

Stace said: “I have spent much of my time on issues that have elevated the needs and solutions of people with significant disadvantage, whether because of their starting point in life, or systemic unfairness and I look forward to supporting Pia and the team to continue to do extraordinary work on prison reform.

“I congratulate my predecessor on his appointment to his new ministerial role and as he takes on his important new responsibilities.

“PRT looks forward to continuing our work with the new government, and policymakers from across the political spectrum, in this new parliament.”

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