May Reshuffle Tweet 8

6pm: We now have the final tally for Theresa May’s new Cabinet, and you can find it below. Overall a lot more change than most of us were expecting, and the Leavers in the positions most directly affected by Brexit.

It hasn’t stopped speculation about an early election, however: the Prime Minister has sent a number of bruised ex-Ministers to the back benches, a risky move with so small a majority. With that, we’re wrapping today’s blog. Bye!

The Cabinet:

  • Theresa May  Prime Minister
  • Philip Hammond – Chancellor
  • Boris Johnson – Foreign Secretary
  • Amber Rudd – Home Secretary
  • Michael Fallon – Defence Secretary
  • Liam Fox – International Trade Secretary
  • David Davis – Brexit Secretary
  • Liz Truss – Justice Secretary
  • Justine Greening – Education Secretary
  • Jeremy Hunt – Health Secretary
  • Damian Green – Work and Pensions Secretary
  • Chris Grayling – Transport Secretary
  • Andrea Leadsom – Environment Secretary
  • Gavin Williamson – Chief Whip
  • Patrick McLoughlin – Tory party chairman
  • Natalie Evans – Leader of the Lords
  • James Brokenshire – Northern Ireland Secretary
  • Sajid Javid – Communities Secretary
  • Karen Bradley – Culture Secretary
  • Alun Cairns – Welsh Secretary
  • Priti Patel – International Development Secretary
  • Greg Clarke – Business and Energy Secretary
  • David Mundell – Scottish Secretary
  • David Gauke – Chief Secretary to the Treasury
  • David Lidington – Leader of the House of Commons
  • Jeremy Wright – Attorney General


  • Wright continues as Attorney General. The latest news is no change – Jeremy Wright keeps his job running the Attorney General’s office.
  • A slight increase in the proportion of women in Cabinet. As per Rowena Mason’s tweet above, early hype about the prospect of a 50:50 cabinet proved to be unfounded. However, this is the first time in history that half of the great offices of state have been occupied by women.
  • The scrutiny begins. Inevitably, everyone is now poring over the past pronouncements of the new Cabinet. Priti Patel once called for DfID, her new department, to be abolished…Andrea Leadsom once did a speech about environmental subsidies for farmers…ultimately, what will actually matter is what they do now, rather than what might have been said in the past. Perhaps with a competent Opposition, that might be different – but that’s a big perhaps, and no such thing currently exists in any case.


  • Gauke is Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Teatime is apparently over – David Gauke continues his climb up the Treasury ladder. Having been Exchequer Secretary 2010-2014, and Financial Secretary since 2014, he will now attend cabinet as Chief Secretary. The promotion of such an experienced Treasury hand is a sign of some desire for stability as the Chancellor himself is replaced.
  • Lidington appointed Leader of the House of Commons. Given the referendum and the creation of a Brexit Department, the role of Europe Minister is presumably defunct. Its former holder, David Lidington, replaces Chris Grayling as Leader of the House – and in so doing joins the Cabinet.

4.30pm: Mark here again, taking over from Henry for the next couple of hours. Here’s the latest:

  • David Mundell stays on as Scotland Secretary. It’s no great surprise – particularly as he’s the only Conservative MP to represent a Scottish constituency – but it has now been officially confirmed that he remains in post.
  • The Cabinet is almost complete. We don’t yet have a Leader of the House of Commons, a Chief Secretary to the Treasury or a replacement for Letwin at the Cabinet Office, but all the very top jobs are filled. The news has slowed in the last half an hour, rather suggesting a break for tea.
May Reshuffle Tweet 7


  • Greg Clark takes over new ‘Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy’ brief. This looks like a substantially different department to the one vacated by Javid, with its more hands-on role suggested by Tim as a reason for the latter’s move to Communities.
  • Priti Patel takes on International Development. Another Brexiteer with an international brief, she will be able to explore how leaving EU protectionist structures like the CAP might allow the UK to do more to boost prosperity in the developing world, living up to Leave’s commitment to a more global Britain.
  • Karen Bradley to Culture, Media, and Sport. She succeeds John Whittingdale, the pro-Brexit former Chair of the CMS Select Committee. The BBC newsroom reportedly cheered his departure – how will they react to his successor?
  • Alun Cairns remains Welsh Secretary. In the midst of a transformative reshuffle, he joins the small handful of Secretaries of State so far who are staying put.
May Reshuffle Tweet 6


  • Sajid Javid is the new Communities Secretary. This opens up a vacancy at Business, assuming that Department survives in its current form. Tim Montgomerie theorises that the move may be because he would not be on board with May’s proposals for worker and customer representation on company boards.
  • Brokenshire replaces Villiers at Northern Ireland. Formerly the Minister for Security and Immigration and one of May’s deputies at the Home Office, he will now be point man on Anglo-Irish free movement and the Irish border during Brexit.
  • Remain Watch: Earlier, we noted how some Remain backers, such as Dan Hodges, were concluding from this reshuffle that May did not intend to backslide on Brexit as they hoped. Others, however, are now advancing the theory that the Prime Minister is issuing briefs to Brexiteers to punish them by making them live up to impossible expectations.


May Reshuffle Tweet 5


  • Leadsom to DEFRA: Another example, after Johnson, of May’s willingness to bring senior Brexiteers on board. Andrea Leadsom will be joining Cabinet, succeeding Liz Truss after the latters move to Justice – although there are suggestions that this is more an indictment of the department, or that May just wants a Brexiteer in charge of dealing with the farmers losing Common Agricultural Policy subsidies.
May Reshuffle Tweet 4


  • Grayling to Transport. The prominent Brexiteer and one-time Justice Secretary managed May’s leadership bid, and so was expected to get a senior post. It does suggest that rumours that the Department for Transport was in line for abolition may have been exaggerated.
  • Labour whips’ tribute to Harper. The former Chief Whip has decided to return to the back-benching – eliciting this tribute from his opposite numbers in the Labour Party. They also took the time to welcome Gavin Williamson to the role. Followers of Labour’s civil war may know that the Whips’ Office, under Chief Whip Rosie Winterton, is considered something of an island of non-Corbynite calm.
May Reshuffle Tweet 2


  • Crabb out. The former Work and Pensions Secretary is leaving the Government, seemingly after press revelations about his personal life during his short-lived bid for the leadership. This is a sharp change of trajectory for a man who only a few weeks ago was putting himself forward to be Prime Minister. It’s also a knock-back for May’s unionism, which was so recently bolstered by appointing Ruth Davidson to the Privy Council, as Crabb was the first of the Party’s Welsh MPs to sit in Cabinet outside the Welsh Office.
  • May’s poll position. There’s some fresh polling doing the rounds which finds Theresa May comfortably ahead of Jeremy Corbyn even once you exclude everybody actually planning to vote Conservative. That should add an extra edge to Labour’s leadership race.


May Reshuffle Tweet 1

1.30pm: Afternoon! This is Henry, taking over the live blog.

  • Cameroon anger. According to James Forsyth, the sheer scale of May’s transformation of the Cabinet and Number Ten operation has come as an unpleasant surprise to Cameron supporters who thought her a safe pair of hands. The Prime Minister’s willingness to be so firm with a small majority is heightening speculation about a general election. Other commentators who thought that her victory might lead to a wriggling out of the Brexit vote, such as Dan Hodges, also seem to be changing their minds about what a May premiership will hold.
  • Departmental change. There is a lot of chatter about the Government’s plans to potentially abolish or merge several departments, but we now have at least one locked-down announcement: Justine Greening’s Department for Education will be annexing higher and further education policy, apprenticeships, and skills from Business.


  • Villiers has gone – voluntarily. After the sackings and the appointments, Theresa Villiers has become the first minister to choose to leave the Cabinet. The Northern Ireland Secretary has released a statement saying that “The new Prime Minister was kind enough to offer me a role but it was not one which I felt I could take on.”
  • Hunt is indeed staying on at Health after all. After the various reports that he was out of Cabinet, then that he was being moved, Downing Street has at last confirmed that he’s staying put. Quite why they didn’t do so sooner is not yet clear.
  • Baroness Evans is the new Leader of the House of Lords. Natalie Evans ran the New Schools Network before Nick Timothy, May’s close adviser (and former ConHome columnist). This is the second government job of her two years in the Lords – she has been a whip since the General Election. She replaces Baroness Stowell.
  • Mark Harper, the former Chief Whip, is leaving the Government. He has tweeted that: “I have decided to leave the Government & return to the backbenches. I’ll continue to loyally support HMG & @theresa_may as our new PM”.


  • Gavin Williamson is the new Chief Whip. He has spent the last three years as PPS to David Cameron, and as the Prime Minister’s link to the Parliamentary Party he knows his colleagues extremely well. He’s just turned 40 – so by my count he’s the youngest Conservative Chief Whip since Ted Heath took over the role in 1955 at the age 0f 39. Traditionally, whipping is a mixture of smiles and strong arms; given that Williamson is a master of the former, it’ll be interesting to see who his deputy is.
  • Patrick McLoughlin becomes Party Chairman. He’s seen the Conservative Party from just about every angle – as a Tory working miner during the strikes, as a councillor, as an MP, as Chief Whip and latterly as Secretary of State for Transport. His appointment also furthers the sense that this is a good reshuffle for working class Tories.
  • Where’s Grayling? Having joined Vote Leave and then run May’s leadership campaign, Chris Grayling has a pretty good record for having backed the right horses. It’s a bit surprising we’re yet to see him walk up Downing Street – which job might he be lined up for?


  • Hunt’s future is now unclear. As the above tweet shows, there are now reports that the Health Secretary might not be moving after all – quite a change from the original reports that he was out of the Cabinet altogether, and then that he was going to take on a different brief. We don’t yet know if that’s the product of a miscommunication, the rumour mill getting out of hand or a genuine change of plan inside Downing Street, but we’ll let you know as soon as we do.
  • Truss goes to Justice. There was a rumour that she’d be moving from DEFRA to Education, but Liz Truss has been appointed Justice Secretary – taking over from Gove. Her predecessor had laid out a radical programme of prison reform, and while she’ll be keen to put her own stamp on the job there will be a lot of demand in Tory circles for that agenda to continue. May has made her task a little easier with her recent u-turn on the European Convention of Human Rights, but she will still be the person responsible for the manifesto promise to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights.
  • Greening becomes Education Secretary. In her role at DfID she emphasised the importance of education in the aid programme, so now she will get a chance to pursue the topic domestically. Remarkably, she is the first ever Education Secretary to have been educated at a comprehensive – she once said: “The experience I had growing up, going to my local comprehensive, my family going through difficult times…it’s about understanding what it’s like to start from scratch more”, and she’ll be a fan of May’s social reform agenda. Where the education reform agenda goes next will be interesting to watch: the Prime Minister has long been a fan of grammar schools, which were taboo under Cameron – the backbenches would be unlikely to say no to a bit of selection being introduced to the system.
  • Might the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills be abolished or merged? It’s notable that the Department for Education has gained responsibility for higher education and skills from BIS. Considering that Liam Fox will now head a Department for International Trade, further eroding the brief, might the Business department itself be on the way out?


  • Hunt is being moved. The BMA is no doubt cheering, given their running conflict with the Health Secretary, but he deserves some recognition for his taking on of a thankless task. His successor will have to choose between using their honeymoon period to push through his controversial contract, or taking the opportunity to ditch it and reset relations. Contrary to earlier reports, he is not out of the Cabinet altogether, but he will be moving to another job.
  • May’s victim count has reached six. That makes this almost as big a change as Macmillan’s “Night of the Long Knives” – though of course the arrival of a new Prime Minister is rather different to a reshuffle by an existing one. When Gordon Brown took over in 2007, ten ministers left the Cabinet (not including Blair), so May is yet to top his record.
  • The Prime Minister has returned to Downing Street. Apparently the sackings were done in the Palace of Westminster, so the sight of her arriving back at base is presumably a sign that the reshuffle is about to move into the more enjoyable phase of promotions and appointments.


  • Whittingdale is out. Another Leave cabinet minister – and another Gove backer – bites the dust. It will be interesting to see who his successor will be – Whittingdale was willing to challenge the big beasts of the BBC, which would be a tough act to follow.
  • Letwin is out. The scythe keeps on swinging. Osborne and Cameron’s one-time mentor – who was temporarily in charge of planning for Brexit – has gone. His departure opens up a vacancy running the Cabinet Office, a key post in the machinery of government.
  • Meanwhile, Grayling reminds us of Labour’s chaotic state. In sharp contrast to the efficiency/brutality (delete as appropriate) of May’s approach, Corbyn still struggles to fill front bench Opposition jobs. As Chris Grayling just said in the Commons, “if Labour were a football team it’d have Paul Flynn in goal, in attack, and in defence”.
Sky news

10.30am: Good morning – Mark Wallace here, kicking off the second day of live blogging the development of Theresa May’s first cabinet. Here’s what we know so far:

  • This morning is the unpleasant part: the sackings. While May gets the nice job of giving people promotions and good news, she also has to inform others that they are sacked. That’s what she’s currently up to – informing those ministers whose services will no longer be needed (there’s some dispute about whether she’s doing it by phone or in person – but for the victims the effect is the same).
  • Gove is out. After a series of good jobs for Leavers last night, the Justice Secretary is apparently the first casualty from among their ranks. He was one of the formative Conservative thinkers of recent years, his education reforms had a huge impact and he was just getting started on the long-overdue task of reforming our prisons, but his relationship with the new Prime Minister was always fraught at best and his knifing of Boris cost him support among many MPs. It’s hard to imagine him limiting his work to that of your average backbench MP – I doubt we’ve heard the last of him.
  • Morgan is out. Another early sacking is Nicky Morgan, the now ex-Education Secretary. She was one of those who nominated Gove in the leadership race.

240 comments for: Live blog: May’s reshuffle, day two. Clark to Business, Patel to International Development, Bradley to Culture.

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