- Conservative Party Twitter account announces Chris Grayling as its new chairman.
- The tweet was then deleted and Brandon Lewis MP was given the job.
- Conservative staff reportedly tweeted the false news on the basis of media speculation.
- Cabinet reshuffle continues into Monday afternoon.
LONDON – Theresa May’s Cabinet reshuffle descended into farce on Monday after the Conservatives announced Chris Grayling its new chairman, only for immigration minister Brandon Lewis to be given the job.
The party’s Twitter account congratulated Grayling, the MP for Epsom and Ewell, on succeeding Patrick McLoughlin as party chairman, before immediately deleting it.
Brandon Lewis MP was later announced as party chairman on Monday afternoon.
Here is the tweet that was quickly deleted:
Downing Street is yet to offer an explanation for the mix-up.
The Times’ Sam Coates reports that Conservative Party staff tweeted the false news about Grayling and sent a Whatsapp message to MPs announcing the news on the basis of media speculation.
Apparent sequence of events 1. Some cab mins thought Grayling to CCHQ & hacks tipped off. 2. Hacks tweeted but CCHQ not told either way. 3. CCHQ operative assume reports correct and tweets and WhatsApps announcement. 4. Complaints pour into No10. 5. Tweet deleted, ferret reversed
— Sam Coates Times (@SamCoatesTimes) January 8, 2018
Guido Fawkes reporter, Alex Wickham, claimed that a Conservative Party staff member tweeted the false news about Grayling after he told them the BBC had reported it.
Told a CCHQ staffer saw the BBC had confirmed Chris Grayling's appointment and tweeted it out assuming the reports were correct.
— Alex Wickham (@alexwickham) January 8, 2018
Lewis, elected to Parliament in 2010, had served as immigration minister before being promoted to the party chairman job.
James Cleverly MP will serve as his assistant, according to the Spectator’s James Forsyth and Telegraph’s Gordon Rayner.
Lewis succeeds McLoughlin who has been axed following the party’s dismal general election and disastrous party conference, according to multiple reports.
Sir Patrick McLoughlin, the outgoing Conservative party chairman, has confirmed that he has left the cabinet. Speaking to Sky News, he said that he had been in cabinet for eight years and that he had had “a very good run”.
Sky’s Beth Rigby says McLoughlin told May in the autumn that he wanted to stand down, but that he was asked to stay on until the reshuffle.
The first minister to leave Cabinet was James Brokenshire, who has stepped down as Northern Ireland Secretary for health reasons.
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