Prime Minister Theresa May (pictured arriving back in Downing Street yesterday) botched her reshuffle as Jeremy Hunt refused to leave Health
Tory MPs voiced disbelief at Theresa May’s bungled reshuffle today as she put a brave face on her ‘new-look’ Cabinet.
The Prime Minister’s shake-up dramatically unravelled yesterday when ministers defied her efforts to move them.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned Mrs May he would rather quit than shift to the business department – forcing her to back down.
After three hours of discussions, Justine Greening then quit instead of leaving her education brief to take the work and pensions job.
The meltdown left Mrs May scrambling after weeks of briefing that she would carry out a major overhaul to make her team less ‘pale and male’.
In the end just one woman – Esther McVey – was made a full member of the Cabinet, while Ms Greening departed.
Two more female MPs, immigration minister Caroline Nokes and business minister Claire Perry, will attend Cabinet meetings.
Mrs May will gather her team in Downing Street this morning and stress her determination to press on with domestic priorities such as social mobility at the same time as Brexit.
But senior Tories branded the reshuffle ’embarrassing’ and too cautious. Grandee Sir Nicholas Soames said simply ‘Is that it?’
The shake-up started shambolically yesterday when Conservative HQ wrongly tweeted that Transport Secretary Chris Grayling had been made party chairman.
A subsequent tweet had to be deleted because of a spelling error and then the Tory website was taken offline because of a security problem.
Mrs May had already backed away from plans to shift Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Chancellor Philip Hammond for fear of destabilising her top team.
Her reshuffle, which was supposed to increase the Government’s ‘diversity’, also left the gender and ethnic make-up of the Cabinet unchanged and led to the departure of Britain’s first openly lesbian Cabinet minister, Miss Greening.
One senior Tory said ‘Far from asserting her authority, it’s just highlighted how weak she is.’
Justine Greening dramatically resigned from Government last night after Theresa May tried to move her from Education Secretary
Tory grandee Nicholas Soames could not hide his frustration at the scope of Mrs May’s changes last night
After more than an hour with the Prime Minister in Downing Street, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt declined to become Business Secretary and instead left with a wider portfolio that includes all social care policy
Mrs May spent hours trying to talk Ms Greening (pictured left leaving the Department for Education last night) into staying in the government but to no avail. Esther McVey (right at No10) was drafted in as Work and Pensions Secretary after Ms Greening turned the job down
Another MP told the Guardian Mrs May had ‘given into the boys’ while sacking a ‘woman born raised in Rotherham who went to the local comprehensive’ – pointing out that Ms Greening also ‘happens to be in a same sex relationship’.
The problems threatened to overshadow a relaunch designed to focus the Government’s efforts on domestic priorities such as housing, social care and schools.
The reshuffle followed the sacking of Mrs May’s deputy, Damian Green, last month over sleaze allegations.
The Prime Minister appointed former justice secretary David Lidington as her new right-hand man. He will deputise for Mrs May at Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, but he will not inherit Mr Green’s grand title of first secretary of state.
Former immigration minister Brandon Lewis and rising star James Cleverly were also appointed to breathe new life into the Tories’ moribund campaign machine.
And Mrs May appointed a string of young MPs as party vice chairmen to help revive the Tory grassroots.
Veteran party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin stepped down following criticism of his handling of last year’s disastrous snap election at which the Tories lost their majority.
The annual conference was also calamitous, with the PM’s speech being interrupted by a prankster and letters falling from the party slogan behind her while she spoke.
The Prime Minister will try to salvage the situation today with sweeping changes to the lower ministerial ranks.
Significant numbers of female and ethnic minority MPs are expected to get promotion in a bid to make the government less ‘pale, male and stale’.
Mrs May will underline her focus on housing by appointing a number of new ministers to serve under Housing Secretary Sajid Javid. But her difficulties in moving senior colleagues underline her continuing weakness in the wake of last year’s election.
Mrs May announced a raft of new vice-chairmen for the Tory Party. They include from left James Morris, Helen Grant, Marcus Jones, Rehman Chishti, Party Chairman Brandon Lewis, Prime Minister Theresa May, Deputy Chairman James Cleverly, Kemi Badenoch, Chris Skidmore, Maria Caulfield and Ben Bradley
Conservative central office tweeted congratulations to Mr Grayling, before the message was swiftly demoted
One Tory MP said ‘Every time she tries to flex her muscles she is quickly reminded just how weak she is.’
Miss Greening, a steelworker’s daughter, was Britain’s first comprehensive-educated education secretary. But, after a series of lacklustre media performances, Mrs May concluded she needed a new face to champion the Tories’ credentials on education, an issue which cost the party votes at last year’s election.
Last month, Mrs May’s former chief of staff Nick Timothy criticised Miss Greening’s social mobility plan for being ‘full of jargon but short on meaningful policies’.
Miss Greening told the PM her post was her ‘dream job’ and – suggesting she could cause trouble on the backbenches – said social mobility mattered ‘more than a ministerial career’. Mrs May was said to be disappointed by her decision to quit the Cabinet, but determined to bring in new blood to lead a drive to improve school standards.
Some Tory sources said Mrs May had considered appointing Mr Grayling, who ran her leadership campaign, as party chairman.
But the plan is said to have met with ‘internal pushback’, prompting her to switch instead to Mr Lewis.
Amid fevered speculation, Tory Central Office issued a pre-prepared tweet congratulating Mr Grayling, only to delete it less than a minute later.
The party’s new deputy chairman James Cleverly said someone in Tory central office appeared to have got ‘a bit over-excited’.
Concern about the Tories’ online presence was underlined when the party’s website crashed and No 10 had to delete a message congratulating new chairman Brandon Lewis because of a spelling mistake.
David Gauke emerged from No 10 (pictured left) as the new Justice Secretary while Karen Bradley (centre arriving at Downing Street) was made Northern Ireland Secretary. She was replaced by Matt Hancock (right)
Sir Patrick McLoughlin (left) was axed as Conservative Party chairman and replaced with Brandon Lewis (right)
Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire (left) decided to quit on health grounds as the PM kicked off the reshuffle. Justice Secretary David Lidington (right) has replaced Damian Green as Cabinet Office minister
Tory Chairman Brandon Lewis
Culture Secretary Matt Hancock
Education Secretary Damian Hinds
Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey
Immigration minister Caroline Nokes (attends Cabinet)
Business minister Claire Perry (attends Cabinet)
Home Secretary Amber Rudd
Chancellor Philip Hammond
Brexit Secretary David Davis
Housing and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
Business Secretary Greg Clark
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson
Trade Secretary Liam Fox
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling
Aid Secretary Penny Mordaunt
Environment Secretary Michael Gove
Lords Leader Natalie Evans
Scotland Secretary David Mundell
Wales Secretary Alun Cairns
Commons leader Andrea Leadsom
Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC
Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington
Justice Secretary David Gauke
Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley
May sacks Greening after two-hour stand-off Education Secretary snubbed new Cabinet job in clash at No 10
Justine Greening (pictured last night) was unable to hold on to her job as Education Secretary
Justine Greening was forced out of Government last night after she unsuccessfully attempted to cling on to her job as Education Secretary.
In an extraordinary stand-off, Miss Greening remained in Downing Street for two-and-a-half hours as she refused a move to the Department for Work and Pensions.
After Theresa May reiterated that this was the only Cabinet job on offer, she was forced to resign.
Miss Greening, 48, who was the first openly gay woman Cabinet minister, could now prove to be a thorn in the Prime Minister’s side over Brexit and a third runway at Heathrow.
In her job at education, where she has been since Mrs May took office, Miss Greening annoyed allies of the Prime Minister with her lack of enthusiasm for grammar schools.
Shortly after 5pm yesterday she was called into No 10, where Mrs May told her she had decided it was time for ‘new blood’ to drive forward her education reforms and offered her a sideways move to become Work and Pensions Secretary.
After Miss Greening resisted, Mrs May made the case that the proposed new job would ‘have a big role to play in social mobility’, which is an issue close to her heart.
Miss Greening mulled over the move in a room next door to the Prime Minister’s office for a couple of hours, before she rejected it and was told by Mrs May she had to go.
At 7.45pm it was announced that Miss Greening had quit Government. Last night a source close to the Prime Minister said ‘She was offered a good job, but she refused to take it.’
Miss Greening tweeted last night ‘Honour and privilege to serve in Govt since 2010. Social mobility matters to me and our country more than my ministerial career. I’ll continue to do everything I can to create a country that has equality of opportunity for young people and I’ll keep working hard as MP for Putney.’
She was the first minister solely educated at a comprehensive to hold the post of Education Secretary. She will be replaced by Damian Hinds, the former employment minister, who attended a Catholic grammar school in Cheshire.
Former grammar school boy Damian Hinds is the new Education Secretary. The 48-year-old, who was employment minister, faces pressures over school funding and decisions about university tuition fees.
Mr Hinds attended St Ambrose grammar school in Altrincham, Cheshire, before studying politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford.
Shortly after entering Parliament as the MP for East Hampshire in 2010, he was elected to the education select committee. He served as assistant Government whip from July 2014 until March 2015 and as exchequer secretary to the Treasury from May 2015 until July 2016, before taking up his post as employment minister.
Married with three children, he spent 18 years working in the pubs, brewing and hotel industries.
The MP for East Hampshire Damian Hinds (pictured) is the new Education Secretary
Miss Greening, the daughter of a steelworker, attended Oakwood comprehensive in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, before studying economics at the University of Southampton.
She trained as an accountant before becoming an MP in 2005, entering the Cabinet as Transport Secretary in 2011 and then International Development Secretary.
Two days after the Brexit referendum in June 2016, Miss Greening, who had supported the Remain campaign, announced she was gay.
Miss Greening said she had been persuaded to come out by her partner, a university lecturer named Tess, and announced that the decision was ‘the best thing I’ve done in many, many, many a year’.
Miss Greening, who only held her staunchly Remain constituency of Putney by 1,554 votes at the election in June last year, could turn into a headache for Mrs May if she rebels over Brexit. She is also a fierce opponent of the plan for a new runway at Heathrow as her constituency is under the flight path.
In a reshuffle beset with social media blunders, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was last night forced to explain why he had ‘liked’ a tweet stating that Miss Greening had left the Government.
Mr Hunt later tweeted ‘Like button pressed by accident. Justine was an excellent minister and will be a great loss to govt.’
… but ‘unsackable’ Hunt defies PM to stay in charge at Health
Jeremy hunt (pictured last night) refused a sideways move yesterday
Jeremy Hunt joined the ranks of the Cabinet ‘unsackables’ last night after seeing off Theresa May’s efforts to prise him out of the Department of Health.
The minister flatly refused a sideways move to the business department after five years in charge of the NHS.
Friends say Mr Hunt made it clear he would rather quit than leave the Health Department.
After an hour-long meeting in No 10, the Prime Minister backed down and let Mr Hunt stay on to ‘finish the job’.
She also accepted his request to take charge of the Government’s response to the social care crisis.
Mrs May had already abandoned any idea of shifting Chancellor Philip Hammond and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson for fear of destabilising her administration.
Yesterday’s events suggest Mr Hunt is also now all but unsackable. The Health Secretary is highly rated in No 10 and has impressed Mrs May with his loyalty since last year’s botched election.
In recent days aides had even sounded him out about the becoming Mrs May’s effective deputy – only for him to make clear he was not interested in taking what is largely a backroom role.
The Health Secretary (pictured last night) made it clear he would rather quit than leave the Department
Downing Street sources acknowledged Mr Hunt had argued ‘very passionately’ to stay at the Department of Health.
A source said ‘He wanted to see it through. He made the case very passionately. He persuaded the PM he’s got the best experience to find a long-term solution on social care.’
Mr Hunt will now take charge of drawing up the Government’s care proposals. His success in resisting a move yesterday is also likely to strengthen his hand in negotiations with the Chancellor on future NHS funding.
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