In Brief

Cabinet reshuffle: who’s coming in and who’s going out?

Prime Minister looks to shake up her top team and bring in new blood

Cabinet reshuffles are always tricky. But the usual blend of rewarding loyalists and revamping the government without creating too many enemies has been given added spice since the Brexit vote: the Prime Minister must also strike a balance between Leavers and Remainers.

 That is the task facing Theresa May as she looks to shake up her team, reassert her authority and promote a new generation of Tory ministers.

The Independent says some close to the PM have advised her to keep a reshuffle up her sleeve until after the local authority elections in May, when the Conservatives are likely to get a bloody nose. But the departure of Damian Green, the former first minister of state and de facto deputy PM, before Christmas “has now made a January reshuffle inevitable, and it will probably be wider than expected”, says the newspaper.

May’s decision to change her team “comes after fierce disagreements within Downing Street about how sensible such a move would be, with some of those around her urging caution because of the ramifications of placing sacked ministers on the backbenches”, says The Guardian. Others could also feel aggrieved at being overlooked.

According to The Sunday Times, those on the way out could be Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom, the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Education Secretary Justine Greening.

Meanwhile, the Daily Express quotes sources in the “Tory high command” who think Justice Minister Phillip Lee, a GP, could be on track to become the first doctor to be health secretary in eight decades. He would replace Jeremy Hunt, who is tipped for a move to the Cabinet Office.

There are also calls for younger MPs elected in 2015 and 2017 to be given more prominent roles in a bid to bring through a new generation of Tories from which a possible successor to May not tainted by Brexit or the failings of the current government might emerge.

One key question for May will be whether to move Boris Johnson, “who is plainly not cut out for his role as Foreign Secretary”, says The Independent. Some Tory MPs want Johnson to champion “Global Britain” as Business Secretary, a job to which they think he is far more suited, the newspaper adds.

While he is expected to resist any such move which would be seen as a demotion, there are reports Johnson could be replaced by current Home Secretary Amber Rudd, one of the few cabinet ministers to have improved her standing over the past year.

Allies of Brexit Secretary David Davis warn any attempt to move Johnson to a new “turbo-charged” Brexit department could risk leaving their man “marginalised” and upset the delicate balance of the Cabinet in favour of those who want a soft Brexit.

The Daily Telegraph says the Prime Minister is also keen to promote more women to top roles, to make the Cabinet more representative of society. Only five out of 21 cabinet posts are currently filled by female ministers.

The combination of those two issues and the simple fact that May is in control of a minority government propped up by the DUP “means that any significant reshuffle is likely to be fraught with difficulty”, concludes the Telegraph.

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