Liz Truss is the new Environment Secretary. Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Reshuffle news: after yesterday's sackings, here come the ministerial promotions

In a dramatic shake-up of his government, David Cameron is now on the promotions, having culled a number of key figures last night.

After an exodus of senior ministers from the government last night, as the PM's final reshuffle of this parliament began, the promotions are coming tumbling in today.

 - First up was former Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, confirmed as the new Foreign Secretary following William Hague's surprise resignation last night.

 - Then there was Liz Truss, expected almost unanimously to be given a seat at the cabinet table this time round, who was moved from being an education minister to Environment Secretary.

 - Another promotion for a woman from the lower ministerial ranks to a cabinet position was Nicky Morgan, replacing Michael Gove as Education Secretary and keeping the Women and Equalities brief. Gove has been shunted down to Chief Whip, which No 10 has confirmed is not even a full cabinet position, although he will attend cabinet meetings and have a prominent campaigning and media role.

 - Michael Fallon, who was both a Business and Energy minister, has been appointed Defence Secretary, replacing Hammond, who has gone to the Foreign Office.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.

Getty
Show Hide image

Liberal Democrats pledge to take Britain back into the European Union

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron is channeling the anger of the 48 per cent. 

The Liberal Democrats took losing 49 seats in the General Election last year with more resignation than you might expect. 

But it turns out there's one thing they'll kick up a fuss about - Europe.

As half of the nation digested the facts of Brexitgeddon, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron stole the show with his refusal to discuss voter breakdown.

He told the BBC: 'I accept the result, but by golly I don't agree with it." 

Now he has pledged to fight the next General Election on a platform taking Britain back into Europe.

Farron, who has accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of "utter spinelessness", will tap into the growing discontent of Remain voters about the referendum result. 

With cries of "we are the 48 per cent", these voters argue such a decisive move should be dependent on more than a 50% majority. By Saturday afternoon, more than 1.6million had signed a petition calling on the Government to implement a rule that if the turnout was less than 75% and the vote in favour less than 60%, a second referendum should be called. 

The petitioners appear to come from university towns like Oxford, Cambridge and York, as well as larger cities. 

Farron said: “For many millions of people, this was not just a vote about Europe. It was a howl of anger at politicians and institutions who they felt they were out of touch and had let them down.
 
"The British people deserve the chance not to be stuck with the appalling consequences of a Leave campaign that stoked that anger with the lies of Farage, Johnson and Gove.
 
"The Liberal Democrats will fight the next election on a clear and unequivocal promise to restore British prosperity and role in the world, with the United Kingdom in the European Union, not out."

There's no doubting Farron's genuine indignation, or the Lib Dem's credentials when it comes to pro-EU pledges. And tapping into the groundswell of pro-EU sentiment is a smart move.

And his clear position makes a stark contrast to Labour's inward angst over immigration, free trade and leadership. 

But as EU leaders demand a quick resolution to Brexit, he may have less and less chance to implement his promise before it's too late.