Theresa May will be back in the Home Office. Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Reshuffle: Who will be in David Cameron's new all-Conservative cabinet?

David Cameron has re-appointed some key figures, and reached out to his backbenchers, in forming the new Conservative majority government.

Tory government appointments so far...

George Osborne stays Chancellor and also appointed First Secretary of State.
Theresa May reappointed Home Secretary.
Philip Hammond remains as Foreign Secretary.
Michael Fallon reappointed Defence Secretary.
Michael Gove reshuffled from Chief Whip to Justice Secretary.
Chris Grayling reshuffled from Justice Secretary to Leader of the Commons.
Nicky Morgan stays as Education Secretary.
Mark Harper will be appointed Chief Whip.
Iain Duncan Smith remains Work and Pensions Secretary.
Baroness Stowell promoted to a full cabinet role as Leader of the House of Lords.
Amber Rudd promoted in the department from Climate Change Minister to Energy Secretary.
Boris Johnson will be Minister Without Portfolio.
Priti Patel moved from Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury to Employment Minister at the DWP (which will be a cabinet role).
John Whittingdale promoted from chair of the culture select committee to Culture Secretary.
Sajid Javid reshuffled from Culture Secretary to Business Secretary.
David Gauke moved from Financial Secretary to the Treasury to Pensions Minister.
Robert Halfon, formerly George Osborne's PPS, will be the party's Deputy Chairman.
Alistair Burt, reshuffled out of the Foreign Office in 2013, will become Health Minister.
Penny Mordaunt promoted to Defence Minister.
Mark Francois appointed to Communities and Local Government Minister.
Edward Timpson will become Minister for Children and Families.
Teresa Villiers remains as Northern Ireland Secretary.
Anna Soubry reshuffled from MoD to Minister for Small Business (attending cabinet).
Jeremy Hunt remains Health Secretary.
Greg Clark will be Communities and Local Government Secretary.
Liz Truss will remain Environment Secretary.
Patrick McLoughlin stays Transport Secretary.
Oliver Letwin will become a full member of Cabinet and will be in overall charge of the Cabinet Office.
Stephen Crabb continues as Welsh Secretary.
David Mundell promoted to Scottish Secretary.
Matt Hancock becomes Cabinet Office Minister (he will attend cabinet).
Ros Altman appointed Pensions Minister.
John Hayes assigned Security Minister at the Home Office.
Jo Johnson is Universities and Science Minister.
Philip Dunne promoted to Minister for Defence Procurement.
Nick Boles stays Skills Minister at BIS.
George Eustice appointed DEFRA Minister.


David Cameron has appointed existing top ministers to their positions in his new cabinet, with a few new faces.

After winning a majority of 12 (with 331 seats overall), the Prime Minister can now have an all-Conservative cabinet, with those pesky Lib Dems out of the way.

So, with such freedom and power, has he executed a drastic reshuffle? Not really.

'Steady as she goes' was essentially the Tory campaign message, and it has extended into the make-up of Cameron's next executive. He has re-appointed Theresa May as Home Secretary, George Osborne as Chancellor, Philip Hammond as Foreign Secretary, Michael Fallon as Defence Secretary, Nicky Morgan as Education Secretary, and Iain Duncan Smith as Work and Pensions Secretary. Osborne has also been made First Secretary of State, which effectively makes him Cameron's deputy.

Cameron has made a few more appointments, but they're still mainly familiar faces. Michael Gove will become Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling will move to Leader of the House of Commons, and Mark Harper (former Immigration Minister) will be appointed Chief Whip. Boris Johnson, while he's still Mayor of London, will have a non-departmental, roving role as Minister without Portfolio.

While the legal community will be relieved to see Grayling shuffled out of the MoJ, Gove may not inspire them with much confidence. His drastic education reforms angered almost the entire British education establishment, and it's likely he will be just as ruthless with penal reform. He will preside over the Tories' policy of a British Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act, a subject he has encountered as Education Secretary when dealing with the thorny issue of religion in schools.

If this sounds more like a shuffle then a reshuffle to you, watch out for new appointments over this week. The chairman of the influential backbench 1922 Committee, Graham Brady, has revealed that the PM has made a "very open offer" to his backbenchers to give them a role in policy-making.

If we're, as I believe we are, getting a very open offer from the party leadership to seek to involve us in decision making and policy making then I'm sure colleagues will rise to that and try to respond in a constructive way . . . 

I hope that there will be a much wider conversation and starting much earlier in the policy development process, so that we ought to be able to anticipate problems and difficulties and work together to make sure that we can be as harmonious as possible in the obviously quite difficult confines of a very small parliamentary majority.

With such a slim majority, Cameron will have to be very careful to keep his backbenchers on side, particularly the right-wingers who caused such havoc for the government last parliament. I expect there will be some sort of symbolic cabinet appointment to reflect this.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.

Show Hide image

In the 1980s, I went to a rally where Labour Party speakers shared the stage with men in balaclavas

The links between the Labour left and Irish republicanism are worth investigating.

A spat between Jeremy Corbyn’s henchfolk and Conor McGinn, the MP for St Helens North, caught my ear the other evening. McGinn was a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour, and he obligingly revisited the brouhaha for the listeners at home. Apparently, following an interview in May, in which McGinn called for Corbyn to “reach out beyond his comfort zone”, he was first threatened obliquely with the sack, then asked for a retraction (which he refused to give) and finally learned – from someone in the whips’ office – that his party leader was considering phoning up McGinn’s father to whip the errant whipper-in into line. On the programme, McGinn said: “The modus operandi that he [Corbyn] and the people around him were trying to do [sic], involving my family, was to isolate and ostracise me from them and from the community I am very proud to come from – which is an Irish nationalist community in south Armagh.”

Needless to say, the Labour leader’s office has continued to deny any such thing, but while we may nurture some suspicions about his behaviour, McGinn was also indulging in a little airbrushing when he described south Armagh as an “Irish ­nationalist community”. In the most recent elections, Newry and Armagh returned three Sinn Fein members to the Northern Ireland Assembly (as against one Social Democratic and Labour Party member) and one Sinn Fein MP to Westminster. When I last looked, Sinn Fein was still a republican, rather than a nationalist, party – something that McGinn should only be too well aware of, as the paternal hand that was putatively to have been lain on him belongs to Pat McGinn, the former Sinn Fein mayor of Newry and Armagh.

According to the Irish News, a “close friend” of the McGinns poured this cold water on the mini-conflagration: “Anybody who knows the McGinn family knows that Pat is very proud of Conor and that they remain very close.” The friend went on to opine: “He [Pat McGinn] found the whole notion of Corbyn phoning him totally ridiculous – as if Pat is going to criticise his son to save Jeremy Corbyn’s face. They would laugh about it were it not so sinister.”

“Sinister” does seem the mot juste. McGinn, Jr grew up in Bessbrook during the Troubles. I visited the village in the early 1990s on assignment. The skies were full of the chattering of British army Chinooks, and there were fake road signs in the hedgerows bearing pictograms of rifles and captioned: “Sniper at work”. South Armagh had been known for years as “bandit country”. There were army watchtowers standing sentinel in the dinky, green fields and checkpoints everywhere, manned by some of the thousands of the troops who had been deployed to fight what was, in effect, a low-level counter-insurgency war. Nationalist community, my foot.

What lies beneath the Corbyn-McGinn spat is the queered problematics of the ­relationship between the far left wing of the Labour Party and physical-force Irish republicanism. I also recall, during the hunger strikes of the early 1980s, going to a “Smash the H-Blocks” rally in Kilburn, north London, at which Labour Party speakers shared the stage with representatives from Sinn Fein, some of whom wore balaclavas and dark glasses to evade the telephoto lenses of the Met’s anti-terrorist squad.

The shape-shifting relationship between the “political wing” of the IRA and the men with sniper rifles in the south Armagh bocage was always of the essence of the conflict, allowing both sides a convenient fiction around which to posture publicly and privately negotiate. In choosing to appear on platforms with people who might or might not be terrorists, Labour leftists also sprinkled a little of their stardust on themselves: the “stardust” being the implication that they, too, under the right circumstances, might be capable of violence in pursuit of their political ends.

On the far right of British politics, Her Majesty’s Government and its apparatus are referred to derisively as “state”. There were various attempts in the 1970s and 1980s by far-right groupuscules to link up with the Ulster Freedom Fighters and other loyalist paramilitary organisations in their battle against “state”. All foundered on the obvious incompetence of the fascists. The situation on the far left was different. The socialist credentials of Sinn Fein/IRA were too threadbare for genuine expressions of solidarity, but there was a sort of tacit confidence-and-supply arrangement between these factions. The Labour far left provided the republicans with the confidence that, should an appropriately radical government be elected to Westminster, “state” would withdraw from Northern Ireland. What the republicans did for the mainland militants was to cloak them in their penumbra of darkness: without needing to call down on themselves the armed might of “state”, they could imply that they were willing to take it on, should the opportunity arise.

I don’t for a second believe that Corbyn was summoning up these ghosts of the insurrectionary dead when he either did or did not threaten to phone McGinn, Sr. But his supporters need to ask themselves what they’re getting into. Their leader, if he was to have remained true to the positions that he has espoused over many years, should have refused to sit as privy counsellor upon assuming his party office, and refused all the other mummery associated with the monarchical “state”. That he didn’t do so was surely a strategic decision. Such a position would make him utterly unelectable.

The snipers may not be at work in south Armagh just now – but there are rifles out there that could yet be dug up. I wouldn’t be surprised if some in Sinn Fein knew where they are, but one thing’s for certain: Corbyn hasn’t got a clue, bloody or otherwise. 

Will Self is an author and journalist. His books include Umbrella, Shark, The Book of Dave and The Butt. He writes the Madness of Crowds and Real Meals columns for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 25 August 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Cameron: the legacy of a loser