Cabinet reshuffle: Lord Bethell – peer who was scrutinised for using private email in ministerial role – leaves Boris Johnson’s top team

A minister who came under scrutiny for using his personal email account in his professional capacity has left Boris Johnson’s cabinet.

Former health minister Lord Bethell faced calls to resign earlier this year amid growing scrutiny over his use of private correspondence channels at his now former department.

Downing Street has said Lord Bethell did use his own account but that this was within the rules.

Lord Bethell has consistently maintained that he has done nothing wrong and has sought to uphold the ministerial code "in everything I do".

It was claimed that both Lord Bethell and former health secretary Matt Hancock used private accounts to discuss government business during the pandemic – including the procurement of coronavirus-related contracts.

And in August, officials confirmed that an inquiry into the use of private communication channels by Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) staff will also include WhatsApp along with other similar messaging apps.

Number 10 confirmed Lord Bethell’s departure from the cabinet on Friday afternoon.

Shortly after, Lord Bethell posted on Twitter: "Sad to be standing down but I want to thank Boris Johnson for the opportunity to serve my country during this awful pandemic.

"It’s been a privilege to work with wonderful colleagues in DHSC (and healthcare generally) during these times."

Later on Friday afternoon, the government announced that Lord Kamall, a professor of politics and international relations and research director at the think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, had taken up the vacant health minister role.

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