Government 'better reflects the country it serves' after reshuffle, PM says


Although under pressure to differentiate her government from that of David Cameron's, May's new cabinet contains almost as many Oxbridge-educated ministers as that of her predecessor (50%).

The former housing minister briefly served as immigration minister before taking on the job of rebuilding the Tories' campaigning strength for the next general election.

Justine Greening, formerly education secretary, has quit government after being offered the Department of Work and Pensions, according to multiple reports, replaced by Damien Hinds.

And health secretary Jeremy Hunt is said to have refused a "demotion" to business secretary - emerging after an hour of talks with an expanded title of health and social care secretary.

Theresa May alongside Justine Greening
Image One Tory MP says Justine Greening’s exit is a ‘damaging loss’ for the PM

A major vacancy to be filled is that of first secretary of state after Damian Green was effectively sacked last month for lying about pornography found on his parliamentary computer in 2008.

All the indications are that May is not strong enough to move the most senior cabinet ministers - Boris Johnson (foreign), Philip Hammond (chancellor), Amber Rudd (home) and David Davies (Brexit) - even if she wanted to in case they make trouble for her from the back benches.

Rightly have constitutional experts remarked that any Prime Minister's executive power over his or her colleagues is never more strikingly revealed than in a reshuffle.

Elsewhere, abortion rights campaigners have expressed their disappointment in the prime minister's decision to make Maria Caulfield the party's new vice chair for women.

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And it was quickly overshadowed by the 27-second tenure of Chris Grayling as party chairman to replace Patrick McLoughlin.

She announced her departure shortly before 8pm, with the DwP leadership eventually going to Esther McVey.

James Brokenshire has resigned as Northern Ireland secretary due to ill health, as the rest of the cabinet stands ready to learn their fate in Theresa May's reshuffle.

"We're only now just getting into the wider part of the reshuffle", new Conservative party Chairman Brandon Lewis said on Tuesday in a BBC TV interview.

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It follows the resignation of James Brokenshire on health grounds. He was replaced by culture secretary Karen Bradley, who will take on the task of attempting to resolve the impasse in the province between the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein which has left the devolved government at Stormont without an administration for a year.

His replacement will be Brandon Lewis, who will be assisted by a new deputy chairman, James Cleverly, and a number of vice-chairmen, with various areas of responsibility. But she has a perilous few months ahead as Brexit negotiations approach a moment of truth when she must decide how closely she wants Britain's economy to remain aligned to Europe's - and what she is prepared to pay for it.

David Mundell remains Secretary of State for Scotland, and Alun Cairns stays on as Secretary of State for Wales.

Greg Clark stays as Business Secretary.

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Environment Secretary Michael Gove, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox all remain in the same jobs.