6.00 Just a quick update, Robert Buckland QC confirms his return as Solicitor General, a post he has held since last year.
5.20 In one of the most highly anticipated moves of the reshuffle, Cameron has announced that David Lidington will continue to serve as Minister for Europe.
This is a very important appointment, given the central role that the EU referendum will play in life of this Government. It is a very strong statement of continuity: Lidington has been Cameron’s Europe Minister ever since 11 May 2010, so he will be very well-acquainted with the brief and in a position to get straight to work.
On the other hand, it will disappoint Eurosceptics, who would have wanted one of their own in the post and an appointment that signalled a tougher line on Brussels than the Prime Minister had been indicated during the Coalition. Instead it seems Cameron is sticking to his strategy: comparatively modest renegotiation centred on welfare reform, followed by campaigning for an In vote.
In other news, Ed Vaizey maintains his position as Culture Minister which he has held since 2010, David Gauke is back as Financial Secretary to the Treasury, and Rob Wilson returns to his role as Minister for Civil Society at the Cabinet Office.
5.00 BBC Wales reports that Alun Cairns will continue to serve in his present role. He has been Minister for Wales since July 2014, and increased his majoriy in Vale of Glamorgan by almost fifty per cent last week. A full list of Government appointments thus far is now available on the Gov.uk website.
4.00 It seems that continuity appointments have continued without any “fanfare” from the official Number 10 channels. Sam Gyimah has confirmed he’s back, and Jane Ellison (of plain packs fame) was re-appointed as Public Health Minister this morning.
3.40 The official announcements appear to have dried up – neither the David Cameron nor the Number 10 Twitter account has yet confirmed George Freeman’s re-appointment, which he announced himself.
In the vacuum, speculation is mounting about the fate of DfE ministers Sam Gyimah and Nick Gibb, both of whom at this moment are still listed as possessing their portfolios (respectively Under Secretary of State for Childcare and Education and Minister for School Reform) on the Government website.
Others are trying to puzzle out the thinking behind some appointment. For example, ex-council leader Marcus Jones seems a good fit for the DCLG, whilst sending former soldier and devout unionist Rory Stewart to DEFRA has raised eyebrows, for all that he represents a very rural constituency.
3.00 Some news! George Freeman, a member of the 2010 intake, has been re-appointed as Minister for Life Sciences, a post he has held since 2014. We’re also seeing reports from unofficial sources that Robert Buckland is back as Solicitor General, which we shall try to confirm.
2.00 Good afternoon all, this is Henry Hill taking up the reins here at the blog.
During a lull in proceedings, we have space to step back and look again at some of the patterns emerging from this second stage of the reshuffle so far, in addition to the ongoing rehabilitation of rebels from the last Parliament like Raab and Crouch.
One thing to note is that MPs for marginal constituencies are now being given a crack of the whip, no pun intended. James Wharton (Stockton South), Ben Gummer (Ipswich) and Marcus Jones (Nuneaton) have all seen Labour off in marginals, and Number 10 is rewarding such efforts with a shot at the greasy pole.
Wharton has also been given a specific remit to oversee Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse project. There is a feeling in some quarters and Pickles and his team were resisting Treasury-led drives on things like housebuilding, and Wharton’s appointment is the latest development in Number 11’s quiet consolidation of influence at the DCLG.
1.20 The unspoken element of the reshuffle (thus far, at least) is the reshuffle that will inevitably take place behind the scenes, as some SpAds leave, some arrive and others are moved around. We know Rupert Harrison and Ramesh Chhabra are leaving the Treasury, but it will be particularly interesting to watch which new senior ministers gain Special Advisers who previously served in Downing Street or for other, more experienced, Cabinet Ministers. Under the Coalition this was a tactic used from time to time to “keep tabs” on what other departments were doing or even to bring them more directly under central control. Paul wrote last week about the influence of the SpAds (for good or ill) and some of them will play as big a part in the form and tone of the Government as the Ministers they serve.
— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) May 12, 2015
1.00 In a rare move, the Prime Minister invited cameras into the first Cabinet meeting of the new Government. It’s another opportunity to deliver a rallying cry – and shows the Cabinet in full voice, banging on the table when he declares the Conservatives are “the real party of working people”. With a golden opportunity to recast Conservatism, as Lord Ashcroft laid out this morning, but also a slim majority to keep on side, I expect we’ll see this campaigning tone run through the Government over the coming years. He clearly intends to make the most of this grace period to get his message across while Labour battle over their future direction.
12.40 And no sooner was it written than it was proven. Another radical from the right of the party, with a track record of rebellion, has just been brought into Government – Dominic Raab becomes a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice. It’s an interesting role for him – he is a strong critic of the ECHR (as is Michael Gove, his new boss), to the extent that he led 85 Conservative MPs in a major rebellion on the topic of deporting foreign criminals last year. That stance now fits with Government policy, but his views on the Snooper’s Charter certainly do not – in 2013 he said it was an “Orwellian scheme” that should be “buried for good”. On election night Theresa May cited the new powers as her first example of something the Government could crack on with now the Lib Dems are gone. Will Raab hold his nose and vote for something he so recently decried?
12.20 Look more closely at the details of the reshuffle and you can discern signs of the Prime Minister’s efforts to heal tensions in the Parliamentary Conservative Party, and extend a hand to some of his critics. As well as bringing Rory Stewart in from his position as Chairmand of the Defence Select Committee, let’s take the 2011 EU referendum rebels as an example. Six of the 81 who once voted against the Government are now ministers (John Whittingdale, Tracey Crouch, Caroline Dinenage, Marcus Jones, Andrea Leadsom and Priti Patel) – including two who now sit at the Cabinet table. The message is that the Prime Minister is not just willing to forgive but also to learn – effectively offering a fresh start for the new era of majority government.
10.40 There are lots of congratulations coming in for Tracey Crouch, a keen footballer and sports fan, who replaces Helen Grant as Minister for Sport. The first Cabinet meeting of the new government starts at 11am, so I’m anticipating there’ll be a break in the appointments while that is underway.
10.20 Two more appointments to report. Damian Hinds steps up to become Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, filling the place vacated by Prit Patel yesterday. John Penrose becomes Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office.
Tuesday, 10.00am Good morning, Mark Wallace here. We’re picking up where we left off last night. Later on in the evening, it was revealed that Grant Shapps is now a Minister of State at the Department for International Development, leaving Lord Feldman as the sole Party Chairman. This morning Downing Street has begun appointing more junior ministerial roles. I’m particularly pleased to see James Wharton recognised with what is set to be an important role in the economic campaign over the next five years – notably it brings DCLG’s work into a Treasury campaign. It’s also worth noting that Ben Wallace served in Northern Ireland as an Intelligence Officer, which presumably played a major part in his appointment to the Northern Ireland Office.
So far this morning’s appointments are:
- Ben Gummer – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health.
- Justin Tomlinson – Minister for Disabled People at the Department of Work and Pensions.
- Rory Stewart – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at DEFRA.
- Marcus Jones – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government.
- James Wharton – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Northern Powerhouse at the Department of Communities and Local Government.
- Andrew Jones – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport.
- Ben Wallace – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office.
- Caroline Dinenage – Minister for Equalities at the Department for Education, and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice.
- Mark Lancaster – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans.
7.30 Apparently some confusion amongst journalists regarding the position of party chairman, which has yet to be formally announced. As there seems to be no indication that it will come this evening, we’re closing our live blog. Have a pleasant evening!
6.20 A quick update, Jeremy Wright QC is staying put as Attorney General.
6.00 Another member of the class of 2010, Hariett Baldwin, has joined the George Osborne School for Future Promotion and been appointed Economic Secretary to the Treasury (City Minister). Francis Maude leaves the Cabinet Office to become Minister of State for Trade at the FCO and BIS.
5.40 A spate of female appointments as the DECC gain another minister who has worked under Osborne: Andrea Leadsom becomes Minister of State. Anne Milton climbs the ranks in the Whips Office to become Deputy Chief Whip (Treasurer of HM Household), the first Conservative woman to hold the post, whilst Therese Coffey becomes Deputy Leader of the House.
Elsewhere, another internal step up. Cornish MP and member of the class of 2010 George Eustice is now Minister of State at DEFRA, where he was previously Under Secretary of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment.
5.20 Boris may not be taking a full ministerial post until he sees out his term as Mayor of London, but brother Jo Johnson has just been appointed Minister of State for Universities and Science at the Department of Business. Johnson was a Minister of State at the Cabinet Office and head of the Number 10 Policy Unit before the election, and played a central role in writing the party manifesto.
Two internal promotions: at Defence Philip Dunne steps up to become Minister of Defence Procurement from the equipment and technology brief, whilst at Education Edward Timpson goes from Under Secretary of State to Minister for Children and Families.
Meanwhile Nick Boles remains as Minister of State for Skills at BIS.
5.00 The rise of the Tory women continues: Penny Mordaunt, a Royal Navy reservist, replaces Francois as Minister of State for the Armed Forces, becoming the first woman to hold the position. John Hayes moves from Transport to become Minister of State for Security at the Home Office, whilst Alistair Burt is promoted from an Under Secretary of State at the FCO to a Minister of State at the Department of Health.
4.40 We’re back, following Number 10’s tea break. First out of the gates in the junior minister appointments is Ros Altmann, a pensions and investments expert who is the Government’s Older Workers Champion, who is now Pensions Minister. During the election campaign the party said they would appoint her in a consumer protection role, specifically asking the former Saga chief to help tackle age discrimination in mortgages.
Meanwhile Mark Francois moves from defence to become a Minister of State in the Department of Communities and Local Government.
3.20 Good afternoon, Henry here. Greg Hands, once Osborne’s PPS, has been promoted to Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and will henceforth attend Cabinet., whilst Matt Hancock moves from Minister for Enterprise to Paymaster General and Minister for Efficiency and Civil Service Reform. Also in what was probably an inevitable move David Mundell, who remains the only Conservative MP in Scotland, has been appointed Secretary of State for Scotland.
3.00 The tweet above from Sam Freedman echoes my note on the march of the Friends of George – a trend we predicted this morning. In other news, Oliver Letwin has been promoted to the status of a fully-fledged Cabinet Minister, and is now in overall charge of the Cabinet Office. And after the success of the Welsh Conservatives last week, Stephen Crabb will continue as Secretary of State for Wales. I’m now going to hand this live blog over to my colleague Henry Hill, as we prepare for this evening’s conference which ConHome is jointly hosting with the Institute of Economic Affairs, Business for Britain and the TaxPayers’ Alliance.
2.40 It seems that Downing Street is alternating news of changes with news of continuity. We now learn that Jeremy Hunt will stay as Secretary of State for Health, Theresa Villiers is to continue as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and Justine Greening will remain as Secretary of State for International Development. There’s no news yet of Desmond Swayne, who became a DfID Minister of State last year. This morning he tweeted, “No calls. Arrive DFID: Pass didn’t work; All my stuff packed in boxes. The End?”
2.20 The first major departure (except of course for the Lib Dems) has just occurred: Eric Pickles is no longer Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. He has been replaced by Greg Clark, who was previously Minister of State for Universities, Science and Cities. With his Cities hat on, he has very much been Mr Localism – playing a big part in the DevoManc programme among other things. It’s also another step up for someone who has served in George Osborne’s Treasury Team – Clark is a former Financial Secretary to the Treasury. Three of the four most recent holders of the post (Javid, Morgan and Clark) are now Secretaries of State.
2.00 The Prime Minister is back from lunch, therefore so are we. There are three continuity announcements to kick off the afternoon, and one promotion. Iain Duncan Smith carries on in his role at DWP, Patrick McLoughlin remains as Secretary of State for Transport, and Liz Truss continues in charge of DEFRA. Meanwhile, Anna Soubry is promoted to become Minister of State for Small Business, and will attend Cabinet – up from Minister of State for Defence.
11.00 The reshuffle is now paused while the Prime Minister addresses what must be the most jubilant meeting of the 1922 Committee for quite some time. We’ll restart the live blog as soon as he restarts proceedings. UPDATE: For now, here’s Guy Opperman MP’s picture of the packed room Cameron is addressing.
10.40 John Whittingdale steps up to be Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. It’s an important role – soon he will have to handle the renegotiation of the BBC Licence Fee (which he recently called “worse than the poll tax“), and of course there’s eternal pressure from the left to restrict the freedom of the press. Whittingdale was Shadowing the role between 2004 and 2005, and for the last ten years has chaired the CMS Select Committee, giving him huge knowledge of the brief. In terms of party management, he was also Vice-Chairman of the 1922 Committee, so could be seen as a key link to the backbenches at a time when the Government’s majority is slim to say the least. The Prime Minister now heads off to address the ’22 for the first time as leader of a majority government – having just appointed one of their own to Cabinet should help gain him a warm welcome.
10.20 Several more positions announced in the last few minutes. Sajid Javid is the new Secretary of State for Business – a very refreshing change from Vince Cable. Amber Rudd is Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, a department in which she has served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State since July 2014. Robert Halfon is Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister without Portfolio, in recognition of his great campaigning work (Paul noted before the election that he would be the best medium-term candidate for the job of Party Chairman). Priti Patel, another major player in the election campaign, moves into Esther McVey’s job as DWP Minister of State for Employment, attending Cabinet. Three trends to watch today: 1) the rise of the FOG (the Friends of George) – Rudd has served as Osborne’s PPS, as has Halfon, and Patel was Exchequer Secretary at the Treasury; 2) the rise of Tory women; 3) those making big jumps in their position – I suspect Rudd’s rise from PUSS to Secretary of State won’t be the last such leap.
10.00 And we’re off! Mark Wallace here, bringing you the latest news from the post-election reshuffle, following Paul’s commentary on the early elements of the process yesterday. The first appointment of the day is Baroness Tina Stowell, who not only keeps her job as Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal but is promoted to being a full Cabinet Member, righting what many felt to be a wrong last year when she was only a minister in attendance at Cabinet. Boris will attend Political Cabinet in his capacity as Mayor of London – a solution which allows him to take a role in government while continuing to pay attention to his job at City Hall.