New Culture Secretary Karen Bradley Is Now A Key Figure For British Music – But Who Is She?

Yesterday (July 14), new UK PM Theresa May appointed her new cabinet ministers. Among them was Karen Bradley, the new Secretary Of State For Culture, Media And Sport. Her appointment was met with a a collective “huh?” from music lovers and those working in the industry because very, very little is known about Bradley, one of the most anonymous members of the new government.

She’s yet to announce any policies so there’s no telling if she’s going to be a friend to the arts or not as yet. While we wait for more concrete signs of her plans for Britain’s creative sectors, here’s what we’ve been able to glean about her so far.

She’s an Adele fan
Bradley’s not been a Twitter user for long – she joined the social networking site this month and has only tweeted twice, both yesterday. She follows 96 accounts at the time of writing and the only musician among them is Adele. She could still be a secret technohead for all we know, but until she tweets telling us otherwise it’s likely her music taste is similar to that of your mum.

She watches X Factor
One of the other Twitter accounts Bradley follows is that of Simon Cowell’s long-running ITV talent show. There’s no clues whether she prefers Cheryl Cole, Gary Barlow, Rita Ora or Nick Grimshaw on the judging panel, but maybe come the new series we’ll be treated to her opinion on this year’s hopefuls.

She was a chartered accountant before becoming an MP
Bradley worked in various areas of the finance industry for 19 years, starting out as a tax manager for Deloitte & Touche, before moving onto KPMG. Later, she was a business and fiscal economics consultant at the same company. Perhaps she can help the music industry figure out its money woes and help send us back to the days when there was plenty of cash to be splashed. But don’t bet on it.

She has no arts-related experience on her CV
Why did Theresa May select Bradley to be Culture Secretary? You won’t be able to figure out why by looking at her past appointments in Parliament, that’s for sure. After her career in finance, she was Minister For Preventing Abuse, Exploitation And Crime (also known as Minister For Modern Slavery). Her website has no mention of anything to do with the arts, stating instead that “when she is not campaigning for the people of Staffordshire Moorlands or looking after the kids, Karen enjoys walking in the beautiful Staffordshire Peak District or experimenting with new recipes.” Guess that’s Great British Bake Off and Masterchef safe, at least.

She might be more sympathetic to the BBC than John Whittingdale
Or at least the parts of the BBC that involve Lauren Laverne. Bradley could be a secret Kenickie fan, blaring out ‘Punka’ on her way to the House Of Commons, but we’re guessing she follows Laverne because she appreciates her BBC 6Music show or her TV work. Either way, here’s hoping it means she doesn’t follow in the footsteps of her Tory colleagues, like previous Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, and tries to destroy the institution.


Lou Reed ‘Berlin’ Interview 2007 by emalyse