Reshuffle farce: Chris Grayling was mistakenly made Conservative chairman for about 30 seconds

Matt Cardy/Getty ImagesChris Grayling MP.
  • 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:

Damian Green TwitterTwitter/@Conservatives

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.

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.

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.

Further announcements will be made throughout the day.

The first minister to leave Cabinet was James Brokenshire, who has stepped down as Northern Ireland Secretary for health reasons.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.