- Theresa May has kicked off 2017 with a reshuffle of her cabinet.
- Justine Greening, formerly education secretary, has quit after being offered the Department for Work and Pensions, according to reports.
- Most of the big names – including David Davis, Philip Hammond, Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd, Sajid Javid and Greg Clark – retained their positions.
- Jeremy Hunt kept his job to become the longest-serving Health Secretary ever.
- Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire resigns due to ill health, replaced by Karen Bradley.
- Chris Grayling was accidentally announced as the new Conservative Party chairman in a tweet that was deleted around 30 seconds later. Brandon Lewis MP has actually been given the job.
LONDON – Theresa May has suffered a shock resignation of a leading government ally as she reshuffled her Cabinet – but by and large, the heavy-hitters in the Prime Minister’s government have remained in place.
The Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire stood down due to ill health, as the prime minister prepared to reappoint her top team, a government spokesperson confirmed on Monday morning. He has been replaced by Karen Bradley, formerly the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. (Matt Hancock has been apponted to Bradley’s old role.)
Justine Greening, formerly education secretary, has quit government after being offered the Department of Work and Pensions, according to multiple reports, replaced by Damien Hinds. Instead, Esther McVey becomes Work and Pensions Secretary.
Other senior figures moved in the reshuffle included Patrick McLouglin, who was replaced as party chairman by the former immigration minister Brandon Lewis.
David Lidington was also moved from Justice Secretary to become the new Minister of State for the Cabinet office – replaced by David Gauke, previously Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
Lidington repalces Damian Green as May’s de facto deputy, and will stand in for her at Prime Minister’s Questions but without taking the title of First Secretary. Green was sacked by the prime minister last year after making a misleading claiming about pornography found on his parliamentary computer in 2008.
In a letter to the prime minister, Brokenshire said he had a small lesion on the lung which required surgery. “Clearly my long-term health and my family are my priorities,” he wrote.
James Brokenshire reveals he has a lesion on his lung. Official resignation letter to PM now out. pic.twitter.com/mO4KP8hZe4
— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) January 8, 2018
May thanked him for his service and replied that it was “absolutely right that you should put your health first.”
In an official statement, DUP leader Arlene Foster said Brokenshire had “immersed himself fully in the role [of Northern Ireland secretary] by dedicating long hours to trying to make progress.”
Most of the senior Cabinet figures retained their jobs, including Jeremy Hunt, who is now the longest-serving Health Secretary of all time. Hunt’s title has been tweaked to Secretary of State For Health and Social Care.
According to The Sun’s Tom Newton Dunn, Hunt was supposed to move to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy brief, but refused.
Breaking: the reshuffle's big shock – Jeremy Hunt refused a move to BEIS to insist he stay on as Health Sec with a beefed up brief of social care too. https://t.co/9zrScUDg19
— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) January 8, 2018
Beyond Hunt, the Cabinet’s “big beasts” Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor Philip Hammond, Brexit Secretary David Davis and Home Secretary Amber Rudd all retained their positions.
As have Business Secretary Greg Clark and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox.
Andrea Leadsom, Leader of the House of Commons, has also retained her position – despite earlier rumours to the contrary.
There was much confusion after the Conservative party announced that the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling had been moved to party chairman, replacing Patrick McLoughlin.
However, the announcement was made on Twitter before being deleted shortly afterwards.
— Kate Proctor (@KateProctorES) January 8, 2018
The Times later reported that there had been “internal pushback” against Grayling, with other reports suggesting that the Conservatives had mistakenly announced Grayling’s appointment due to it being reported by the BBC.
Number 10 later confirmed that Brandon Lewis had got the job instead, with the backbench MP James Cleverly moving to become his new deputy.
Lewis also took on the role of Minister Without Portfolio.
McLoughlin was moved out after heavy criticism in private from Conservative MPs for his role in the general election and the prime minister’s disastrous party conference speech.
Elsewhere, abortion rights campaigners have expressed their disappointment in the prime minister’s decision to make Maria Caulfield the party’s new vice chair for women.
Terminator provider BPAS said it was “incredibly disappointed” with the decision due to the MP’s past opposition to the decriminalisation of abortion.
Further announcements are expected throughout the day, with more junior appointments expected tomorrow.
Here’s May arriving at Downing Street before the reshuffle
PM arrives at Number 10 ahead of reshuffle. pic.twitter.com/bAQtjEnF8A
— Theo Usherwood (@theousherwood) January 8, 2018
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