May to reshuffle Cabinet by axeing senior ministers

Elias Hubbard
January 13, 2018

But Mr Lidington will fill in for Mrs May at Prime Minister's Questions and take on some of the responsibilities for chairing influential Cabinet committees, including some relating to Brexit. The Prime Minister has been advised by Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith, her new Chief Whip.

Nevertheless, the British leader did make a handful of personnel changes which, although not necessarily attention-grabbing, will improve her handling of policy.

The return of Parliament brought with it an injection of new energy as Theresa May reorganised her Cabinet, effectively strengthening the power of her Conservative party to help relieve some of the pressure now being applied to the Government by Brexit.

In a move likely to delight Brexiteer MPs, the PM will balance her Remain-dominated cabinet by moving up younger, Brexit-voting MPs as well as appointing a "minister for no deal".

May's spokesman rejected the accusation, saying: "This is about the prime minister putting in place the right team to tackle the challenges the country faces".

The reshuffle was sparked in part by the resignation of May's ally, Damian Green as the de-facto deputy prime minister, after police who were investigating a separate matter revealed they had found thousands of pornographic images on his computer.

Ex-culture secretary Karen Bradley has been moved to the politically sensitive Northern Ireland role vacated by Mr Brokenshire.

Lewis had until today been the Minister of State for Immigration and was the first minister to have been summoned to No.10 to meet with the Prime Minister this morning.

May's New Year's objective is to convey message that his Government's field of action does not end in Brexit, in face of a year in which local elections await in spring, in which Labour Party expects to see its good performance in L As surveys.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is believed to be in line to take over Green's role while the Sunday Telegraph reported that education minister Justine Greening was facing the sack.

Negotiations on a transition deal begin this month, while the toughest talks, on Britain's future relationship with the European Union including trade, are set to start in March. Mrs May's inability to impose her will on her ministers and the failure of her advisers to prepare the ground adequately for the reshuffle will do nothing to enhance her claim for competence.

Tory backbencher Philip Davies, who sits on the Commons Women and Equalities Committee, said the reshuffle had created "a legitimate concern that some people may feel they have been hoofed out or not promoted simply because they are a white male".

The appointment of Lewis as McLoughlin's replacement and minister without portfolio was initially overshadowed by the mistaken announcement that Grayling was being moved from Transport secretary to Conservative chairman.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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