The resuffle is continuing, with Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, Attorney General Dominic Grieve, Leader of the House of Commons Andrew Lansley all unofficially confirmed to have left the cabinet. Meanwhile, rumours are swirling round Westminster of a shock departure, with William Hague thought to be the most likely candidate.
Of note is that the two biggest Conservative supporters of the European Convention on Human Rights, Grieve and Ken Clarke, have both left, paving the way for a possible Conservative manifesto pledge to withdraw from the treaty.
Universities minister David Willetts, who attended cabinet, has announced his resignation, along with International Development minister Alan Duncan and “Big Society” minister Nick Hurd.
David Cameron’s final cabinet reshuffle of this parliament has begun. The PM is currently meeting those Conservative ministers leaving the government in his Commons office in order to spare them the walk of shame up Downing Street. By contrast, those who are being elevated to the cabinet, will be paraded in full view of the TV cameras tomorrow.
The first to depart are Ken Clarke, who was serving as minister without portfolio (having been demoted from Justice Secretary in 2012), and David Jones, the Welsh Secretary. Of note is that Clarke’s resignation means this will be the first Tory-led government since 1972 not to feature him on the frontbench. And, as I wrote last week, his departure, to be followed by that of Chief Whip George Young, means the cabinet will be left without a One Nation flag-bearer.
In response to his sacking, Jones told ITV News: “It’s not been a bad run – I’ve had four years as a minister, two years as Secretary of State.” He added that Cameron was “very kind” and made it clear that the reshuffle was about “freshening up the team”. Jones is best known for warning, at the time of the equal marriage bill, that same sex partners could not provide “a warm and safe environment for the upbringing of children”. He and Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, who is also expected to be sacked, were the only Conservative cabinet ministers to vote against the legislation.
Ken Clarke (Minister without Portfolio)
Dominic Grieve (Attorney General)
David Jones (Secretary of State for Wales)
Andrew Lansley (Leader of the House of Commons)
Owen Paterson (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
David Willetts (Universities Minister)