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.
11:28 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.
PM appoints Theresa Villiers as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) September 4, 2012
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.
Sky Sources: Work & Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Education Secretary Michael Gove to remain in their roles “to get the job done”
— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNewsBreak) September 4, 2012
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.
— Tory Chairman (@ToryChairman) September 4, 2012
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.