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22.00

Roll call at the end of the day. We have:

Prime Minister: Theresa May.

Chancellor: Philip Hammond.

Foreign Secretary: Boris Johnson.

Home Secretary: Amber Rudd.

Brexit Secretary: David Davis.

Housing Secretary: Sajid Javid.

Defence Secretary: Gavin Williamson.

Business Secretary: Greg Clark.

International Trade Secretary: Liam Fox.

Justice Secretary: David Gauke.

Health Secretary: Jeremy Hunt.

Education Secretary: Damian Hinds.

Environment Secretary: Michael Gove.

Work and Pensions Secretary: Esther McVey.

Transport Secretary: Chris Grayling.

International Development Secretary: Penny Mordaunt.

Culture Secretary: Matt Hancock.

Cabinet Office: David Lidington.

Welsh Secretary: Alun Cairns.

Northern Ireland Secretary: Karen Bradley.

Lords Leader: Natalie Evans.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Party Chairman: Brandon Lewis.

– – –

Commons Leader: Andrea Leadsom.

Immigration Minister: Caroline Nokes.

Business Minister: Claire Perry.

Chief Secretary: Liz Truss.

Chief Whip: Julian Smith.

Attorney General: Jeremy Wright.

– – –

  • Not a single Minister has been sacked. Justine Greening and James Brokenshire have left the Cabinet. David Lidington takes a new Cabinet job – replacing Damian Green – thus leaving a Cabinet vacancy. Damian Hinds, Matt Hancock and Esther McVey have entered it.
  • The Cabinet began today with five full women Commons members and two entitled to attend. It ends with five full women Commons members and three entitled to attend. The size of Cabinet as a whole is up by one.
  • The Cabinet has lost two Remain supporters at the referendum, and gained two Remainers (Hancock, Hinds) and a Leaver (McVey).
  • If a Brexit contigency Minister is to attend Cabinet, there is no sign of an appointment yet.

More tomorrow morning as we close our live blog for the evening. The last word goes to Nicholas Soames above.

21.15

Caroline Nokes is Immigration Minister.

Leadsom and Liz Truss are to stay on. That means by our calculation that May has not sacked a single Minister. It was being written at the weekend that up to six could be dismissed or demoted.

 

20.30

Esther McVey is the new Work and Pensions Secretary. Clearly not part of the original plan…but the first women to be promoted to Cabinet in this turbulent shuffle.

As a woman communicator with a TV background and a northern seat, McVey was wasted in the Whips Office, and we wanted her at the top table, running the Culture Media and Sport.

She became a target for the venom of the Hard Left when a DWP Minister previously, and will become one again as she returns to head the department. This is what civil servants call a brave appointment.

And Claire Perry will attend Cabinet as a Business Minister. She will thus join Matt Hancock there as a rehabilitated Osborne-ite. May originally cut back the number of Ministers entitled to attend Cabinet: now it is rising again, at least if Lewis’s replacement as Immigration Minister also attends, as he did.

20.00

Here’s another one we called right.

Damian Hinds is Education Secretary. We tipped him for Cabinet promotion on November 13, complete with photo on the front page.

This looks like an appointment that May wanted to make rather than one she has been forced into.

Hinds is a Catholic, though a liberal one who voted for same-sex marriage (and was afterwards barred from taking communion by his local bishop).  He can thus reasonably be expected to go where Greening wouldn’t, and lift the cap on admissions to new faith schools.

19.50

It’s over.

Greening has refused a move to Work and Pensions, left Downing Street and has resigned.

Esther McVey is now in Downing Street.

19.45

By our calculation, Leadsom, Truss, Smith and Wright’s position are now the only ones unconfirmed.

Greening is still in Downing Street as we write.

Statement of the obvious: the plan for the shuffle has broken down. It was to move Hunt to Business and, presumably, Clark to another department.  That hasn’t happened and Downing Street will be scrambling.

I’ve asked on Twitter if there has been a shuffle as troubled as this in recent years.  One answer draws attention to Gordon Brown’s of 2009, in which Caroline Flint quit in the wake of Hazel Blears’ resignation.

19.00

He may not be Party Chairman, but the Great Survivor, Chris Grayling, survives yet again. He remains at Transport.

Strange but true: after reports that up to six Cabinet Ministers could be moved or fired [our italics], not a single one has yet been sacked. McLoughlin resigned – an important distinction.

Greening has reportedly been in Downing Street for two hours or so.  There are conflicting claims about Clark.  One version is that, like Hunt, he effectively refused to move.  Another is that the subject of a move was never raised.

The recently appointed Penny Mordaunt will unsurprisingly stay at International Development. And Michael Gove is staying put at Environment.

18.45

Hancock is indeed the new Culture Secretary.

He was an Osborne creation, hired originally by the former Chancellor as his Chief of Staff in Opposition; was entitled to attend Cabinet under Cameron; was offered a demotion by May; accepted it; knuckled down to work – and is now back in style. We give you his version, with Therese Coffey, of “Don’t stop me now”.

P.S: Liam Fox stays at International Trade.

18.30

Paul Goodman back editing.

The following are reported to be in Downing Street: Chris Grayling, Matt Hancock, Damian Hinds.

Culture is in play.

Unconfirmed claim that Justine Greening has refused to move to Work and Pensions, and has resigned from the Government.

Reasonable to assume therefore that Hancock has been bumped up at Culture, and Hinds at Work and Pensions – or perhaps moved to Education if Greening has left the Government. But let’s see.

17.45

Two more appointments since my last update – David Gauke is now Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, while Karen Bradley has been moved to the Northern Ireland job vacated by Brokenshire. That fills the two open seats at the Cabinet table, but opens up two more, at DWP and DCMS.

Gauke, in particular, has become one of those ministers with a reputation for general competence, and as a result this is his fourth job in 18 months, his second as a Secretary of State. That is no fault of Gauke’s, indeed it’s a result of his status as a safe pair of hands, but one unfortunate by-product of the move is that DWP will now get its fourth boss since Iain Duncan Smith quit in March 2016. That’s something this site’s founder rightly recognises as quite destabilising for any department, and particularly one still engaged in a difficult, drawn-out and sensitive reform of a major service.

Bradley’s move to Northern Ireland raises all sorts of questions about her views on the ongoing Stormont talks and indeed the border with the Republic – namely that nobody knows much about what they are yet.

17.00

After all that wait, not only is Jeremy Hunt still in essentially the same role, but now Greg Clark is also staying at BEIS, too. The delay, followed by what is essentially no change, despite lots of speculation beforehand, certainly implies something has not gone entirely as planned. As I predicted in my previous update, the search is now on for the detail and the explanations of who did what and why – Tom Newton Dunn of The Sun suggests on Twitter that Clark refused to surrender his job to Hunt.

If so, there are two main effects of such a sticking point. First, on the rest of the reshuffle – if a planned move has indeed been abandoned, then the rest of the plan will now have to be adjusted accordingly. That’s the immediate outcome. And second, on the two men involved. Both are almost exactly where they were before, but might potentially now be displeased about the day’s events – either feeling disappointed to have missed out on a job they wanted, or sore that the Prime Minister tried to unseat them. Evidently both have agreed in the end to stay where they were, but there could still be a lasting effect on the morale of one or both.

16.35

So Jeremy Hunt is staying in the same job – though, like Sajid Javid, his department has gained an extra bit to its name. He is now Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. The addition of “housing” to DCLG was purely cosmetic – given that the department already had responsibility for that policy brief – and it may well be that this, too, is primarily a PR exercise intended to demonstrate how seriously the Government takes the issue of social care.

What’s notable is that Hunt was in Downing Street for more than an hour and a half before this announcement was made. That seems rather longer than would be required to inform him that “and social care” was being added to his job title. Was there a debate going on about some other proposed change that either we’re yet to hear of or which was sunk by someone’s refusal to play ball? Such stories normally take a while to emerge after the event, so it’s worth listening out for any whispers.

16.00

Hello, Mark Wallace here – I’ll be running the live blog for the next couple of hours.

We’re four and a half hours into the reshuffle, and so far…well, not very much has happened, all told, and this reshuffle is running rather slower than they normally do. The feelings of all those sat next to phones wondering about possibly being promoted/moved/sacked can probably be summed up by one government source who just texted me simply to say: “Oh my god, I wish they would get on with it!”

In case it’s all proving too much for you to bear, remember that this is still only day one of what we’re told will be a two-day shuffle. If they’re sticking to the original plan of doing Cabinet-level jobs today, and more junior roles tomorrow, then there are at minimum two more appointments to make today: Northern Ireland and Justice. If they are both filled by people who are currently junior ministers, then that’ll be it for the day. If, however, as seems more likely one or more are filled by other current Cabinet ministers, then the process will continue until the top table is filled.

And Greg Clark and Jeremy Hunt are still inside Number 10, so quite what happens to them remains to be seen.

15.00

We wanted May to merge Transport into a bigger Business department, and use the Cabinet vacancy to make housing a stand-alone department, with Sajid Javid in charge.

But she won’t undertake that structural change in this shuffle – or we suspect any at all – so she has gone for rebranding CLG as H [Housing] CLG, to stress the importance of providing more, and has kept Javid in place. This avid free marketeer is not a natural Mayite, if there is such a thing, but his passion for building more homes has helped keep him in place.

  • Boris Johnson’s reappointment as Foreign Secretary is confirmed.
  • And watch this space on Maria Caulfield. The new Conservative Vice-Chair for Women is already being targeted by the Left on Twitter because of her pro-life views.  There will be a concerted campaign from that quarter to force her out: remember, you read it here first.

14.30

The shape of this reshuffle is becoming clearer – and at this point it looks very much as predicted in advance, with the exception of Brokenshire’s unexpected departure.

  • Hammond, Rudd, Davis and Johnson look set to all stay in post. (It’s now confirmed that the first three will do so, though there is no official confirmation yet of the third).
  • …And Cabinet changes will thus be below that top Ministerial level.  As we write, there are vacancies at Justice and Northern Ireland.  McLoughlin has resigned; no-one has yet been fired.
  • The Lewis/Cleverly appointments were also widely expected, though the shake-up at Vice-Chair level is big, unexpected and ambitious.
  • Sajid Javid and Greg Clark are in Downing Street as we write: so neither look likely to be sacked.
  • Raab to Justice? Bradley to Northern Ireland? Above all, will May make any significant change to Sajid Javid’s housing brief? We will soon see.

It is too early to reach a view, but without decisions on political strategy – what the shape of the economy should be post-Brexit; how to build more houses more quickly, and proper contingency planning – there may be an element of: is that it?

14.00

Here’s one we saw coming.

On November 22, we tipped David Lidington, along with Hunt, as Cabinet Office contenders.  The logic of appointing the latter is obvious.  He is loyal, hard-working, very bright, and not consumed by personal ambition: the perfect understudy.  The Justice Department will miss him, but to let Lidington take up the heavy lifting of Cabinet Committee work, plus the diplomatic dealings with other Ministers it entails, was an obvious course to take.  He will not have the title of First Secretary of State; there will be a sense in Number Ten of “been there, done that”.  Like Damian Green, he was a strong Remainer.  Unlike him, he is a former Europe Minister and knows a mass of politicians abroad from his Foreign Office days.  May should utilise his contacts and experience.

Amber Rudd remains Home Secretary.

That leaves Cabinet-level gaps at Justice and Northern Ireland – and further down the ministerial ladder, with the promotion of Lewis and, presumably, the move to CCHQ of the two Jones’.

13.30

There is a raft of new CCHQ Vice-Chairs appointments:

  • James Morris – Training and Development.
  • Helen Grant – Communities.
  • Marcus Jones – Local Government.
  • Rehman Chisti – Communities (with Grant).
  • Kemi Badenoch – Candidates.
  • Chris Skidmore – Policy.
  • Maria Caulfield – Women.
  • Ben Bradley – Youth.
  • Andrew Jones – Business Engagement.

This is a major shake-up and on the scale required.

Some quick points.

  • Badenoch was our readers’ One to Watch for 2018, and the appointment looks like very good news. Tory candidate selection is a closed and centralised business, and the Saffron Walden MP will hopefully let in some fresh air.
  • Chisti and Grant will surely want to build on the Pickles Review recommendations for a long-term commitment to ethnic minority campaigning.
  • Bradley will bring his experience of a Midlands ultra-marginal to bear; Marcus Jones, who has a safer Midlands seat, presumably leaves a vacancy at CLG, as does Andrew Jones at the Treasury.
  • Amidst a party in which social liberalism is in fashion, Caulfield is a bit of a social conservative. This appointment represents diversity in the real sense of the word.  Skidmore has a serious interest in policy and will presumably leave the Cabinet Office.

P.S: These appointments are ambitious in scale and almost entirely new in scope. They will need to be properly resourced and backed up to work properly.

13.00

It is one o’clock on reshuffle day, and we have only one Cabinet level appointment to date.  This is very slow going indeed for a shuffle, which gives rise to questions.  Does the Prime Minister want a leisurely timetable, in which case how long will the shuffle last?  Or are there hold-ups over appointments?  If so, is this because some Ministers are reluctant to move, or because Downing Street’s final plan was made very late?  If this wasn’t the case, why was Grayling’s name still on a list this morning for the Party Chairman post?

12.00

What we know so far:

  • Patrick McLoughlin has resigned – not been fired – as Party Chairman
  • Lewis has replaced him.
  • James Cleverly is Lewis’s deputy.
  • Brokenshire has left the Northern Ireland Office.
  • Reports of Lidington going to the Cabinet Office are unconfirmed.

Lewis and Cleverly are the new Likely Lads of CCHQ: personable, able, and social media-savvy (especially in Cleverly’s case: here’s a ConHome piece he wrote on up-to-date campaigning).  Lewis is an old mate of Eric Pickles, which is good news in terms of implementing the latter’s review.  He was our recommendation for a Local Government seat in Cabinet.

Both appointments were widely touted. Whether the pair will have the independence, vision and clout to reform the Party on the epic scale required is another matter.  The stakes may not have been so high since the appointment of Lord Woolton post-war. Watch for further CCHQ appointments.

11.45 am

CCHQ has tweeted congratulations to Grayling on his appointment as Party Chairman.  And then deleted the tweet.  But much of the lobby and commentariat is treating the appointment as confirmed. None the less, Laura Kuenssberg says: hold your horses.

Either way, it looks like a second CCHQ cock-up, following its failure to upgrade its website to HTTPS, reported earlier today: here’s Mark Wallace’s take.  It’s also being pointed out that Grayling isn’t on Twitter.

It’s no exaggeration to say that it’s chaos out there at the moment.  CCHQ tweeted Grayling’s appointment.  The BBC and Sky reported it.  The tweet was withdrawn.  Number 10 won’t confirm the appointment.  And it looks as though Brandon Lewis will be Party Chairman after all.  This is a dire start to the shuffle.

Am hearing that Grayling was “on the list” as a potential Party Chairman, but that there was “pushback” from with Number Ten at the prospect.  At any rate, it is reported that Iain Carter at CCHQ was responsible for the errant tweet.

11.30am

First big surprise of the day. Always something no-one punted.

Harry Cole’s Sun account cites “ill health”.  We’re extremely sorry to hear this, and await further details: one report cites a lung condition.  Brokenshire’s term in Northern Ireland hasn’t been an easy one, and some have blamed him, in part, for the present political impasse there.  Our own Henry Hill has been critical.

Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports that David Lidington will take over at the Cabinet Office, and that Chris Grayling will be Party Chairman.

10.30am

Good morning and welcome from Paul Goodman, opening our reshuffle Live Blog.

We’ve set out our ideas for change in a lot of detail over the last few weeks. Our five main recommendations, for better or worse, were as follows.

  • Clarify the post-Brexit economic aims of the Government, put policy in the hands of Ministers who believe in them, and reinforce the links between the Treasury and a beefed-up Business department. The centrepiece of our plan was for Michael Gove to become Chancellor and Boris Johnson to move to a beefed-up Business department.
  • Give Brexit planning for contingency – deal or no deal – the priority it needs by ensuring that the Minister responsible has the right to attend Cabinet.  We have punted Dominic Raab for the post, or else giving Steve Baker a leg up.
  • Ensure that Housing has the priority it needs, by ensuring that it has its own representation in Cabinet. We recommended that Sajid Javid keep the portfolio, with Brandon Lewis taking over the Local Government brief.
  • Appoint a Party Chairman with the seniority and clout radically to reform it, in order to reverse the decline in membership and support, and provide an alternative voice in civil society to Labour’s.  We suggested Jeremy Hunt for the brief back in June.
  • Strengthen the standing and morale of the Whips Office.

Hunt, David Lidington or Chris Grayling, we wrote recently, could take over Damian Green’s responsibilities at the Cabinet Office.

Our Party members’ panel top choices for Cabinet promotion are Raab, Rory Stewart, Jacob Rees-Mogg and James Cleverly.

Downing Street has been playing it very tight over the shuffle, but the consensus view of what will happen today and tomorrow is –

  • No move for the most senior Cabinet Ministers – Philip Hammond, Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd and David Davis.
  • Hunt likely to take over at the Cabinet Office, and Ann Milton perhaps at Health.
  • Up to six demotions or dismissals, including Patrick McLoughlin, Andrea Leadsom, Justine Greening and Greg Clark.
  • Brandon Lewis to become Party Chairman.
  • A mass of appointments below Cabinet rank tomorrow to bring on more women, ethnic minority members, and younger MPs.

Now let’s see what actually happens.  The shuffle is being conducted at a leisurely pace by the standard of these affairs.  The Prime Minister will reportedly arrive in Number Ten at about 11am and news of appointments will follow.

It’s claimed that those being fired won’t be required to walk up Downing Street in front of the cameras – which has also been the case previously – but that Theresa May is insisting on seeing every single Cabinet member, whether he or she is being moved or not.

295 comments for: Live Blog. Day of the long boomerangs. Greening quits the Cabinet after Hunt resists moving. It’s a setback for May’s authority.

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