A British post-election ministerial reshuffle has been unveiled today (May 11) at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which has primary dealings with the national music business.

A British post-election ministerial reshuffle has been unveiled today (May 11) at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which has primary dealings with the national music business.

As part of the DCMS revamp, James Purnell has been appointed to succeed Estelle Morris, who was minister of media and culture. He will hold the title of minister for media and tourism.

Purnell, 35, member of parliament for Stalybridge and Hyde, takes responsibilities for broadcasting and the creative industries, which includes music. Until recently, he was parliamentary private secretary in the cabinet office.

Morris, the former education secretary, was named as minister of the arts in a June 2003 reshuffle under prime minister Tony Blair. Since joining the department, Morris has played a vital role in the establishment of forums dedicated to the live music sector and intellectual property.

"We've been privileged to work with one of the most engaged and committed of ministers in Estelle Morris, and wish her well. We were working on an exciting agenda with her which we look forward to progressing with James Purnell," says Alison Wenham, chair of British labels body the Assn. of Independent Music.

"Estelle Morris was a superb champion for our industry and we are very disappointed that she decided to step down," concurs Peter Jamieson, executive chairman of the British Phonographic Industry. "We hope that her successor will carry on."

Also confirmed today was the appointment of David Lammy as minister for culture. Lammy, 32, will take responsibilities for the arts. A member of parliament for Tottenham, Lammy was until recently a junior minister at the department for constitutional affairs.

British culture secretary Tessa Jowell, who rung the changes, will remain in charge of the department's strategy, policy and expenditure.

Key issues awaiting Jowell and her team include the extension of copyright term for sound recordings, with the view to bring the European current term of 50 years in line with the United States' 95-plus years. The United Kingdom will hold from July 1 the presidency of the European Union and Jamieson would like to see the British government "take the lead and champion this issue."

Jamieson says he also hopes that the government will help fund research to determine if there is a case to establish a Music Council, similar to the Film and the Arts Council.

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