Cameron's reshuffle: who's in, who's out?

Full details of the Prime Minister's first major reshuffle as they emerge.

After months of speculation, David Cameron's first major cabinet reshuffle began last night. Here's what we know so far.

15:36 Tory deputy chairman Michael Fallon, renowned as the party's attack-dog-in-chief, has been made minister of state for business. Tory MPs will hope he'll act as a powerful counterweight to Vince Cable.

15:00 Elsewhere on The Staggers, Frances Crook, the chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, has posted on why she'll miss having Ken Clarke as Justice Secretary. Clarke was making good on the promise of a "rehabilitation revolution", she says.

14:14 Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, who blogged yesterday on The Staggers on why the government should not support a third runway at Heathrow, has added his voice to those criticising the removal of Greening as Transport Secretary.

He commented on Twitter: "Greening’s appointment 11 months ago indicated the PM’s position on Heathrow was solid. Yielding so easily suggests panic, not principle."

13:42 Boris Johnson has criticised the removal of Justine Greening as Transport Secretary as confirmation that the government is intent on building a third runway at Heathrow, a policy that he described as "simply mad".

Courtesy of PoliticsHome, here's the full quote from his Sky News interview.

There can be only one reason to move her - and that is to expand Heathrow Airport. It is simply mad to build a new runway in the middle of west London. Nearly a third of the victims of aircraft noise in the whole of Europe live in the vicinity of Heathrow.

Now it is clear that the government wants to ditch its promises and send yet more planes over central London. The third runway would mean more traffic, more noise, more pollution - and a serious reduction in the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people. We will fight this all the way.

13:11 With the remaining vacancies now filled, we've just published a full list of the new cabinet here.

12:28 It's worth noting that the five Liberal Democrat cabinet ministers (Nick Clegg, Danny Alexander, Vince Cable, Michael Moore and Ed Davey) have all remained in their current posts. However, as expected, David Laws, who became the cabinet's first casualty when he resigned as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in May 2010, has returned to government as an education minister. Simon Hughes is reported to have turned down a ministerial post in order to remain as the party's deputy leader.

12:20 We've just had another flurry of announcements as the reshuffle is finalised.

As expected, Grant Shapps has been named as the new Conservative chairman. He will attend cabinet as Minister without Portfolio.

Maria Miller, currently the minister for disabled people, has joined the cabinet as Culture Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities.

Justine Greening, who was removed as Transport Secretary, is the new International Development Secretary.

12:12 We've been in touch with New Statesman legal correspondent David Allen Green to get his take on Chris Grayling's promotion to Justice Secretary. Here's what he had to say.

Grayling is a disappointing choice as Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor.  This is not because he is the first non-lawyer since Tudor times to hold the post of Lord Chancellor but because in a number of statements he shows no understanding of the principles of equality and fairness.  The criminal justice system is already in crisis.  The appointment of a mere sloganeer can only make things worse.

11:53 Following Sayeeda Warsi's removal as Conservative co-chairman, it's been announced that she will take up a new dual role as senior Foreign Office minister and minister for faith and communities. She will continue to attend cabinet.

11:40 As I've commented on Twitter, Cameron's decision to move Hunt to health is the biggest gamble of his reshuffle. The media will be after his scalp from the start and they'll be plenty of bad news stories from the NHS. But Hunt - personable, telegenic, socially liberal - is the archetypal Cameroon and the PM's decision to promote him is an assertion of his authority.

11:35 Owen Paterson, formerly Northern Ireland Secretary, has been named as the new Environment Secretary, while outgoing Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin replaces Justine Greening at Transport.

11:28 I've blogged on Chris Grayling's promotion to Justice Secretary here, pointing out why he was left out of Cameron's first cabinet: he defended the right of B&B owners to turn away gay couples.

11:04 In defiance of Jeremy Hunt's many critics, Cameron has just named him as the new Health Secretary.

10:45 Again via Twitter, Downing Street has just confirmed Chris Grayling as the new Justice Secretary.

10:31 The Downing Street Twitter feed has just named transport minister Theresa Villiers as the new Northern Ireland Secretary. The current incumbent, Owen Paterson, a favourite of the eurosceptic right, is in line for a promotion.

10:27 In the most significant move of the reshuffle so far, Andrew Lansley has been removed as Health Secretary and will become Leader of the House of Commons.

10:17 ConservativeHome are reporting that Chris Grayling, currently welfare minister, is set to be named as the new Justice Secretary.

09:29 Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith will remain in their respective posts as Education Secretary and Work and Pensions Secretary. Duncan Smith was reportedly offered Justice but, unsurprisingly, declined. He has previously said that Work and Pensions is the only job he wants to do in government and his defining policy, the Universal Credit, won't be implemented until 2013.

Similarly, it would have been odd to move Gove, also hailed by the right as crusading reformer, before his education reforms are complete.

Gove and Duncan Smith join George Osborne, William Hague, Theresa May and Vince Cable as those certain to remain in their current jobs.

08:35 Michael Fallon, the current Tory deputy chairman, has been seen walking into No 10. Along with Grant Shapps, he has long been cited as a possible replacement for Warsi as chairman. When asked if he had been awarded her job, he smiled, according to the BBC's Norman Smith.

07:18 Cheryl Gillan has left her post as Welsh Secretary after Conservative MPs called for someone representing a Welsh constituency to do the job (the Tories currently hold eight Welsh seats). In what has been dubbed the first "Twitter reshuffle", Gillan signalled her departure by removing the words "Secretary of State for Wales" from her bio on the site.

Andrew Mitchell has been named as the new Chief Whip after leaving his post as International Development Secretary. He replaces Patrick McLoughlin, who is tipped to become Transport Secretary. David Cameron said: "As chief whip, Andrew will ensure strong support for our radical legislative programme, by working hard to win the argument in the Commons as well as playing a big role in the No 10 team. He will be invaluable as the Government embarks on the next, vital phase of its mission to restore our economy to growth and reform our public services."

Despite a late appeal for Cameron to save her job, Sayeeda Warsi has been removed as Conservative co-chairman. She confirmed her departure via Twitter late last night and is expected to be replaced by housing minister Grant Shapps.

Ken Clarke, the man known as the "sixth Liberal Democrat cabinet minister", has been removed as Justice Secretary but is expected to remain in the Cabinet, most likely as minister without portfolio.

Caroline Spelman has been removed as Environment Secretary and will leave the cabinet.

David Cameron will announce full details of his cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday afternoon. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Find the EU renegotiation demands dull? Me too – but they are important

It's an old trick: smother anything in enough jargon and you can avoid being held accountable for it.

I don’t know about you, but I found the details of Britain’s European Union renegotiation demands quite hard to read. Literally. My eye kept gliding past them, in an endless quest for something more interesting in the paragraph ahead. It was as if the word “subsidiarity” had been smeared in grease. I haven’t felt tedium quite like this since I read The Lord of the Rings and found I slid straight past anything written in italics, reasoning that it was probably another interminable Elvish poem. (“The wind was in his flowing hair/The foam about him shone;/Afar they saw him strong and fair/Go riding like a swan.”)

Anyone who writes about politics encounters this; I call it Subclause Syndrome. Smother anything in enough jargon, whirr enough footnotes into the air, and you have a very effective shield for protecting yourself from accountability – better even than gutting the Freedom of Information laws, although the government seems quite keen on that, too. No wonder so much of our political conversation ends up being about personality: if we can’t hope to master all the technicalities, the next best thing is to trust the person to whom we have delegated that job.

Anyway, after 15 cups of coffee, three ice-bucket challenges and a bottle of poppers I borrowed from a Tory MP, I finally made it through. I didn’t feel much more enlightened, though, because there were notable omissions – no mention, thankfully, of rolling back employment protections – and elsewhere there was a touching faith in the power of adding “language” to official documents.

One thing did stand out, however. For months, we have been told that it is a terrible problem that migrants from Europe are sending child benefit to their families back home. In future, the amount that can be claimed will start at zero and it will reach full whack only after four years of working in Britain. Even better, to reduce the alleged “pull factor” of our generous in-work benefits regime, the child benefit rate will be paid on a ratio calculated according to average wages in the home country.

What a waste of time. At the moment, only £30m in child benefit is sent out of the country each year: quite a large sum if you’re doing a whip round for a retirement gift for a colleague, but basically a rounding error in the Department for Work and Pensions budget.

Only 20,000 workers, and 34,000 children, are involved. And yet, apparently, this makes it worth introducing 28 different rates of child benefit to be administered by the DWP. We are given to understand that Iain Duncan Smith thinks this is barmy – and this is a man optimistic enough about his department’s computer systems to predict in 2013 that 4.46 million people would be claiming Universal Credit by now*.

David Cameron’s renegotiation package was comprised exclusively of what Doctor Who fans call handwavium – a magic substance with no obvious physical attributes, which nonetheless helpfully advances the plot. In this case, the renegotiation covers up the fact that the Prime Minister always wanted to argue to stay in Europe, but needed a handy fig leaf to do so.

Brace yourself for a sentence you might not read again in the New Statesman, but this makes me feel sorry for Chris Grayling. He and other Outers in the cabinet have to wait at least two weeks for Cameron to get the demands signed off; all the while, Cameron can subtly make the case for staying in Europe, while they are bound to keep quiet because of collective responsibility.

When that stricture lifts, the high-ranking Eurosceptics will at last be free to make the case they have been sitting on for years. I have three strong beliefs about what will happen next. First, that everyone confidently predicting a paralysing civil war in the Tory ranks is doing so more in hope than expectation. Some on the left feel that if Labour is going to be divided over Trident, it is only fair that the Tories be split down the middle, too. They forget that power, and patronage, are strong solvents: there has already been much muttering about low-level blackmail from the high command, with MPs warned about the dire influence of disloyalty on their career prospects.

Second, the Europe campaign will feature large doses of both sides solemnly advising the other that they need to make “a positive case”. This will be roundly ignored. The Remain team will run a fear campaign based on job losses, access to the single market and “losing our seat at the table”; Leave will run a fear campaign based on the steady advance of whatever collective noun for migrants sounds just the right side of racist. (Current favourite: “hordes”.)

Third, the number of Britons making a decision based on a complete understanding of the renegotiation, and the future terms of our membership, will be vanishingly small. It is simply impossible to read about subsidiarity for more than an hour without lapsing into a coma.

Yet, funnily enough, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just as the absurd complexity of policy frees us to talk instead about character, so the onset of Subclause Syndrome in the EU debate will allow us to ask ourselves a more profound, defining question: what kind of country do we want Britain to be? Polling suggests that very few of us see ourselves as “European” rather than Scottish, or British, but are we a country that feels open and looks outwards, or one that thinks this is the best it’s going to get, and we need to protect what we have? That’s more vital than any subclause. l

* For those of you keeping score at home, Universal Credit is now allegedly going to be implemented by 2021. Incidentally, George Osborne has recently discovered that it’s a great source of handwavium; tax credit cuts have been postponed because UC will render such huge savings that they aren’t needed.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.

This article first appeared in the 11 February 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The legacy of Europe's worst battle