Responding to the news that Chris Skidmore is to the new Minister for Universities, Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), said:

This is an interesting appointment. No one predicted it, but it’s not a radical departure. Chris’s impressive bibliography as an author of Tudor history, his past experiences elsewhere in Whitehall and his firm loyalty to his party – when such loyalty is seemingly in short supply – must make him a pretty good fit for the post.

He will need all his many talents in the role. The number one challenge he faces is getting to grips with his brief before the Augar review of post-18 education and funding lands on his desk early next year.

He’ll also need to become an expert in accounting over the next fortnight, given the forthcoming ONS review of student loans.

And, if he wants the confidence of the sector, he’ll need to steel himself for renewed battles with the Home Office over staff and student mobility.