Theresa May Plays it Safe With Cabinet Reshuffle

Danny Woods
January 10, 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party deleted a tweet announcing a new chairman on Monday, adding unexpected drama to what was expected to be a routine reshuffle of her top ministers.

The role of chairman will see Lewis take responsibility for party administration, oversee the Conservative Campaign Headquarters and join the Cabinet as a minister without portfolio.

Confirming he was leaving May's top team after nearly two years as party chairman, Patrick McLoughlin - who was blamed by many Tories for the party's poor showing in last year's snap election - told Sky News: "I've been in the Cabinet eight years".

However, while Downing Street said Mr Lidington would stand in for the Prime Minister at PMQs, he has not been given the formal title of First Secretary of State, a role which effectively gave Mr Green the role of deputy Prime Minister.

Perhaps to prove the point that a new party chairman was needed, the Tories initially sent a tweet out congratulating Chris Grayling as the new chairman before quickly deleting it.

Monday's moves retained the delicate balance among Mrs.

His replacement was announced on Twitter, only for the tweet to be nearly immediately deleted.

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McLoughlin had been widely tipped for the sack after the disastrous snap elections last June, in which the Tories lost their majority in the House of Commons. "It also allows a new generation of gifted ministers to step up and make life better for people across the whole United Kingdom", the prime minister said.

He also drew fire after a protester interrupted May's speech to the party conference in October - an address that was also marred by a coughing fit and a collapsing set.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a leading Brexit supporter, is expected to keep his job despite challenging May's strategy previous year.

The reshuffle was sparked in part by the resignation of May's ally, Damian Green as the de-facto deputy prime minister, after police who were investigating a separate matter revealed they had found thousands of pornographic images on his computer.

Several new faces are to be appointed to the ministerial lineup, but Philip Hammond, Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd and David Davis are among key figures likely to stay in place. However this will only happen if Ministers focus more on policy and delivery, and less so on personalities and rivalries.

Theresa May's first major reshuffle since taking office in 2016 was also marked by the unexpected departure of Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire, who quit the government on grounds of ill-health weeks ahead of major surgery for a small lesion to his right lung. "I was trade minister for 30 minutes".

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