PRIME Minister Rishi Sunak has appointed Central Devon MP Mel Stride as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

The announcement was made within the last half an hour.

Mr Stride (61), has been a strong supporter of Mr Sunak for the position of Prime Minister.

It is expected that Mr Stride’s long service as Treasury Committee chairman will stand him in good stead for the role, which will require a good understanding of financial issues.

He was elected as MP for Central Devon in 2010.

He served as Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Council from May 23 to July 24, 2019.

He was previously Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General from June 2017 to May 2019.

He was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School and Oxford University, where he was elected President of the Oxford Union.

In October 2011 Mel was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, John Hayes.

He later served as an Assistant Government Whip from July 2014 until May 2015 and as Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) from May 2015 until July 2016.

Mel said: ‘I am deeply honoured to serve in Rishi Sunak’s cabinet.

‘As Secretary of State for Work and Pensions there is a huge amount to do in the highest spending department in government.

‘A department that matters to millions.’