Before entering politics, Michelle Donelan MP worked in the media and entertainment industry, having started her career at Pacific Magazines, before joining The History Channel. She later worked for World Wrestling Entertainment as an International Marketing Communications Manager.
Donelan served on the Education Select Committee for three years after she was elected to Parliament in 2015. She entered Government in the Whips Office in 2018 and then spent three years at the Department for Education, including as Secretary of State for Education for 35 hours. Her time at the Education Department was predominantly spent as Universities Minister in which her major focus was over free speech issues. She resigned as part of a spate of ministerial resignations over Boris Johnson’s handling of the Chris Pincher scandal. On taking her role she has already signalled she will be tweaking the Online Safety Bill, removing the 'legal but harmful' provisions, but also re-examine the case for privatisation of Channel 4.
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"Donelan takes up a wide-ranging brief that includes issues such as online regulation, the sale of Channel 4, the impact of spiraling energy costs on theatres and the upcoming BBC license fee review. She seemingly shares her predecessor’s skepticism over the BBC license fee, having previously launched a petition urging the BBC to reverse its decision to charge over-75s. Speaking in 2019, she said: “Personally I think the license fee is an unfair tax and should be scrapped all together but that is a different debate.” She is also unlikely to be afraid of continuing the so-called ""culture wars"", speaking up against those who she says want to “silence their opponents” and make others conform “to an increasingly narrow ideology”. In April, she wrote despairingly: “We see George Orwell’s 1984 branded ‘offensive and upsetting’ for students to read. National heroes like Isaac Newton, Francis Drake and William Gladstone are cancelled, erased from history as though their contributions to the world were merely byproducts of evil.”
Following her appointment to Secretary of State, she swiftly visited the Science Museum and emphasized the importance of these cultural organisations to communities, inspiring “a whole new generation of experimenters and innovators”."