Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake has been promoted in the Prime Minister’s mini-reshuffle this week.

Mr Hollinrake is now a Minister of State, a step up on the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State he became in the Department for Business and Trade in October 2022.

The Ryedale MP told the Press: “It’s a slightly higher rank of minister, just below cabinet minister. My brief hasn’t changed at all. The areas and sectors are the same.”

He remains Small Business Minister as well as Post Office Minister, handling the controversial issue of compensation payments to postmasters and mistresses wrongly convicted of fraud.


“There’s still much to do. I’m focussed on getting the job done. We are making progress,” he said.

Some 78 per cent of claims made have received a full and final settlement, but there remains 22 per cent to do. And since the ITV drama Mr Bates v The Post Office was shown in January, 1200 claims have come in.

Mr Hollinrake explained: “People also can’t make a claim unless their conviction is overturned. Legislation is due by July to overturn the convictions. As soon as August we can start paying significant amounts of compensation.”

The promotion and mini-reshuffle was sparked by the resignation of two ministers, Education Minister Robert Halfon and Armed Forces Minister James Heappey. They add to recent turmoil affecting the government.

“He’s got the toughest job in the world,” said Mr Hollinrake of  PM Rishi Sunak, who he backed in the Tory leadership battles of 2022.

The MP still backs Sunak today, even as speculation mounts over the PM’s future and whether he should lead the government into the next General Election.

“I do think it would be ludicrous to think a change of leader would solve our problems.”

Mr Hollinrake also declines to speculate on any potential successor and who he might support.

Instead, the Conservatives need to “work hard as a team” adding the “economy is turning around” and “inflation is dropping significantly.”

“I’m worried about people’s businesses and jobs,” he continued.

Such concern also extends to holding his seat.

Based on current polls, Electoral Calculus predicts a Conservative hold, but only by a few per cent compared with 44.5 per cent or 25,154 votes in 2019. Labour is expected to come second, with Reform third and the Lib-Dems fourth.

“It’s generally a safe seat, but we are not complacent about it.”

The MP sees the upstart Reform Party as “a threat, as any party.”

“We need to show a vote for Reform is a vote for Labour,” he said, whose government “would be devastating for business.”

As parliament takes a three-week recess, Mr Hollinrake plans a couple of days to himself, but there will also be surgeries and campaigning, including more support for Keane Duncan, the Conservative candidate for the York and North Yorkshire Mayoralty.