John Penrose has stood down from his position as Tourism and Heritage Minister following David Cameron's decision to reduce the size of the Culture, Media and Sports department (DCMS) after the London 2012 Olympics.
The move comes a day after the announcement that Penrose's boss, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, was being replaced by Maria Miller in the Prime Minister's cabinet reshuffle.
Speaking to BigHospitality, a DCMS spokesperson said barring major surprises he expected the tourism brief to remain within the department.
He revealed the incoming Culture Secretary and the new ministerial team were due to hold their first meeting on Thursday morning with the first matter of business being the individual portfolios and who would now been the main point of contact in Government for the hospitality and tourism industries.
It is thought the job will now fall to Hugh Robertson or Ed Vaizey.
Penrose, MP for Weston-Super-Mare, announced his move in a statement on his website: “I’m very proud of the work I did as part the DCMS team, boosting the tourism industry, cutting red tape and helping with a highly successful Olympic Games as well."
A statement responding to the news came swiftly from The British Hospitality Association who said it was 'extremely disappointed' that Penrose had stood down. The association had worked closely with Penrose in a number of areas recently and the MP was the a keynote speaker at its Hospitality and Tourism Summit earlier this year.
"He was a great supporter of the tourism industry," it said. "We would be extremely concerned if this indicated any downgrading of tourism in the DCMS's list of priorities."
When questioned for his thoughts on the forthcoming cabinet reshuffle in a video interview with BigHospitality in July, Penrose said he was really enjoying the job and would be 'delighted' to remain in the position if he could.
"I think it's one of the best jobs in Whitehall," he said.
Hunt was due to close this year's Annual Hotel Conference (AHC) before the reshuffle announcement. A spokesperson for the AHC confirmed he would continue to do so but under his new job title.
Other departures of relevance to the hospitality industry include the removal of Bob Neill from his role at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) where his role included responsibility for community pubs. His replacement, Brandon Lewis, will now take on that task.