- REUTERS/Leon Neal/Pool
- At least four high-profile Conservatives are set to be sacked in Theresa May’s biggest Cabinet reshuffle since the June general election.
- The prime minister is reportedly set to announce a new minister for no-deal Brexit.
- Jeremy Hunt and Chris Grayling are tipped as possible names to replace Damian Green as first secretary of state.
- Reshuffle announcements will get underway later on Monday.
LONDON – Theresa May is set to move or sack at least four senior figures in her Cabinet on Monday in the biggest reshuffle of her top ministerial team since calling the June snap general election.
The prime minister will confirm a number of changes to her Cabinet today and tomorrow, with the most high-profile changes set to be announced before lunchtime today.
The most prominent Conservative ministers reportedly under threat are Education Secretary Justine Greening, Party Chairman Patrick McLoughlin, Business Secretary Greg Clark and House of Commons leader Andrew Leadsom, who May went toe-to-toe with in the final round of the party’s 2017 leadership contest.
Leadsom has today written an article for The Times outlining her plans for the year as House of Commons leader.
Though changes to the Cabinet will be wide-ranging, most of the government’s big beasts are set to continue in their roles.
Boris Johnson will continue as foreign secretary despite a number of gaffes and his widely-criticised handling of the Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe case, while Brexit Secretary David Davis, Chancellor Philip Hammond, and Home Secretary Amber Rudd are all set to hang on to their jobs.
The prime minister is likely to announce that a new ministerial position has been created to oversee preparations for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. Steve Baker, who is currently based in the Brexit department, is set to be confirmed as the Cabinet for minister for no deal, The Telegraph reports.
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.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been tipped as a possible replacement. However, a change in leadership within the Department for Health would be tricky with the NHS struggling with what has been dubbed a winter crisis.
Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, has also been floated as a potential successor to Green.
All eyes will be on movement at the top-end of Cabinet but Prime Minister May wants to use this latest reshuffle to promote new talent to the lower levels of government, according to numerous reports.
George Freeman, who up until recently was head of Theresa May’s policy unit, has called for a “big shake-up” within the Conservative Party following the disappointment of the June election.
“Politics is changing. I think this election showed that our party structure is not fit for winning modern elections. We don’t just need to repair it, I think we need to be really bold and set out what a 21st-century Conservative party looks like,” he told the Today programme this morning.
Tory MPs elected in 2015 and 2017 including James Cleverly, Suella Fernandes and Bim Afolami have all been tipped for junior ministerial roles.
Brandon Lewis, the MP for Great Yarmouth and current immigration minister, is reportedly in the frame to replace McLoughlin as party chairman.
McLoughlin’s position has looked precarious since the party’s dismal election campaign. May’s disastrous conference speech and questions over security did nothing to help the MP for West Derbyshire’s cause.