Cabinet reshuffle: Who's who in the new government?

11 May 2015

Over the past few days, David Cameron has been assembling his new government after being re-elected as Prime Minister with a slim majority last Thursday. Here's our take on the promotions, demotions, rewards, punishments, political manoeuvring and what it all means for Britain as we assess the people who will govern us for the next five years.


 

Chancellor of the Exchequer and First Minister of State

George Osborne
 

No surprises that the Chancellor remains in power after presiding over a record upturn in employment, record low levels in interest rates and seeing living standards rise and an economic recovery recently hailed by the OECD as “remarkable”. Dave's old university chum is also promoted to First Minister of State - an indication that he is Cameron's preferred successor? You may very well think that, we couldn't possibly comment.

 

 

Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Greg Hands

 

A promotion for a major Osborne ally, the deputy chief whip is moving up in the world and succeeds the deposed Danny Alexander. Expect him to be a key player in any Osborne leadership bid in the not-too-distant future.

 

 

Home Secretary

Theresa May

 

 Again, as expected. May continues in her role which has seen her become the longest-serving Home Secretary in more than 50 years, an incredible achievement. The former financial consultant, who was also the first female Tory chairman when appointed by William Hague in 2002, is widely touted as a future Tory leader and may well take advantage of Boris' absence from the Cabinet to stake her claim for the position.

 

 

Justice Secretary

Michael Gove

 

After a fairly disastrous shift as Chief Whip which saw a plot to oust the Speaker, John Bercow, spectacularly backfire, Gove moves to the MoJ. A perennial headache for Dave, the former Education Secretary continues to be a square leg in any round hole is put in and it is unclear whether this is a promotion or a demotion.

 

 

Foreign Secretary

Philip Hammond

 

A born diplomat, Twitter can look forward to another half a decade of Philip Hammond's SpAds tweeting pictures of him shaking hands with diplomats from various countries. Thought to be attempting to gather support for a leadership bid so he may up the stakes - a selfie with the Secretary General of the UNSC?

 

 

Defence Secretary

Michael Fallon

 

The Sevenoaks MP is re-appointed in his old job which he gained in the last re-shuffle, and will head off against Labour's Vernon Coaker, who was re-appointed in his shadow role today.

 

Another one believed to be plotting a leadership bid, Fallon's future prospects will likely depend much on how successfully he stands up to the new SNP MPs' demands for an end to Trident.

 

 

Business Secretary

Sajid Javid

 

An outside bet for the leadership A.D (After Dave), the son of a bus driver from Lancashire has landed a second promotion on the bounce after being promoted to Culture Secretary last year. An Osborne ally, Javid's promotion to Business Secretary will surely strengthen his relationship with the Chancellor and future leadership prospects.

 

 

Education Secretary

Nicky Morgan

 

 

No change at the DfE as Nicky Morgan is reappointed. The MP for Loughborough has seen one million children attend schools rated as as 'good' or 'outstanding,' an achievement for which even the Independent, hardly well-disposed towards Tories, said the party deserved 'tremendous credit.' A solid performer who attracts little of the ire that her predecessor did, Morgan is one to watch.

 

 

Health Secretary

Jeremy Hunt

 

The familiar theme continues as another potential leadership contender is reappointed. Hunt is widely considered to have made a better fist of sorting out the NHS than Andrew Lansley did and can take credit from the fact that public satisfaction in the NHS is booming. With Andy Burnham today re-appointed as Labour's shadow Health Secretary, expect their ongoing Twitter war to continue...

 

 

Environment Secretary

Liz Truss

 

Surprisingly not promoted after an impressive election campaign in which she impressed Tory HQ, Truss is back in at Defra. Mercilessly lampooned for the infamous cheese-based rant at conference last year, the former president of Oxford University's Liberal Democrat society has nevertheless been a solid and impressive performer in her role and may well be in line for a promotion in the next reshuffle.

 

 

Climate Change and Energy Secretary

Amber Rudd

 

At last a newcomer! Energy minister Rudd is promoted after Lib Dem Ed Davey lost his seat. The latest woman in a markedly more gender-equal Cabinet in comparison to the Cabinet five years ago, the MP for Hastings and Rye has risen swiftly through the Tory ranks since her election in 2010. She's a feminist, too.

 

 

Culture Secretary

John Whittingdale

 

A sop by Cameron to the right of the party and a surprise appointment at DCMS, Whittingdale voted against equal marriage in the last parliament and warned that it would “cause distress to many”. An old head in a Cabinet which is seeing the average age gradually fall, Whittingdale may swiftly see himself outnumbered and outflanked by more liberal colleagues.

 

 

Work and Pensions Secretary

Iain Duncan Smith
 

What dirt has he got on Dave? Whatever it is, it must be something mega-juicy as IDS continues as Secretary of State at the DWP despite being a hate figure for virtually the whole country after his benefit cuts in the last Parliament. With £12bn of further cuts expected, don't expect the former Tory leader to get any more popular.

 

 

Transport Secretary

Patrick McLoughlin

 

One of the few in the Cabinet not to be touted as a future leader, former manual worker McLoughlin is the only member of the Cabinet not to have attended university. HS2 is likely to become an increasingly controversial issue over the next Parliament so McLoughlin could find himself at the forefront of political debate.

 

 

Scotland Secretary

David Mundell

 

Mundell's reward for improbably retaining the only Tory seat in Scotland on a night when the SNP cleaned up north of the border is the top job at the Scotland Office.

 

It would be an exaggeration to say the position has been cursed of late, but it's one of the harder ones in the Cabinet. Lib Dem predecessor Alistair Carmichael found life tough going against formidable First Minister Nicola Sturgeon; Mundell will do well to fare any better against The Most Dangerous Woman In Britain.

 

 

Wales Secretary

Stephen Crabb

 A rising star in the Cabinet, Crabb ticks the working class box for the Tories and is vital for the party's presence in Wales as the country's second party after competent performances by Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood during the debates. He is also the first bearded Tory Cabinet minister in more than a century.

 

 

Northern Ireland Secretary

Theresa Villiers

 

Another quiet but consistent performer, Villiers does not seek headlines but simply gets on with her job discreetly and effectively; vital qualities at the Northern Ireland Office. Occasionally tipped as a future leader, the Barnet MP has been in her position since 2012.

 

 

Communities Secretary

Greg Clark

 

Another surprise appointment as Eric Pickles is jarred, Clark is promoted from his previous role as minister for Universities. The milkman's son has been in Parliament since 2005.

 

 

International Development Secretary

Justine Greening

 

The Putney MP has achieved the remarkable feat of being touted as a future leadership contender whilst being Secretary of State at what is notoriously the most tedious and boring department in the Cabinet. Efficient and unassuming, don't bet against a promotion in the next reshuffle.

 

 

Any other business?

 

Well yes, actually. Where, I hear you cry, is Boris? Boris will be attending Cabinet without a portfolio in order for him to devote his attention to his final year of Mayor of London and will surely be set for a promotion in the next reshuffle.

 

Matt Hancock (AKA Mr Hashtag Long Term Economic Plan) will become the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General. The role doesn't sound particularly exciting but puts Hancock, another major Osborne ally, in a strong position which will surely see him further strengthen his links with the Chancellor and will likely see him part of any future Osborne leadership bid.

 

Chris Grayling is now the Leader of the House, while Anna Soubry is now a minister for small business, having managed to keep her Broxtowe seat against the odds.

 

Mark Harper is the new chief whip, an important promotion having previously had to resign as an immigration minister after inadvertently employing an illegal immigrant as his cleaner.

 

That's it, really as far as the main Cabinet excitement goes. Let the games begin!
 

 

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