Cabinet Reshuffle: David Davis keeps Brexit Secretary role

David Davis has received plenty of criticism as Brexit Secretary

David Davis has received plenty of criticism as Brexit Secretary

Monday, January 8, 2018

David Davis has kept his role as Brexit Secretary in Theresa May's headline Cabinet re-shuffle.

The news was tweeted from Theresa May's office this afternoon, and it was also announced that Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd and Philip Hammond will keep their roles.

Downing Street has also announced that Jeremy Hunt, whose role was the subject of particular scrutiny, has been given the expanded brief of health and social care secretary, while Greg Clark remains as business secretary.

David Lidington has been appointed cabinet office minister to replace Damian Green, who quit the Government last month after admitting lying over pornography on his office computer. But the former justice secretary has not been given the title of first secretary of state, which marked Green out as Theresa May's effective deputy.

It is understood that May does not intend to appoint a first secretary of state in what has been billed as her biggest reshuffle since taking office in 2016.

Lidington was also named Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, replacing Sir Patrick McLoughlin, who was sacked as Conservative chairman following criticism of his role in the party's poor performance in last year's snap election.

Brandon Lewis has been named the new party chairman, amid farcical scenes which saw the Tories' official Twitter account incorrectly announce that the job had gone to Chris Grayling.

Brokenshire quits

The reshuffle also saw 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.

May indicated the door would be open for a return to Government after Brokenshire - a close ally since their days in the Home Office - has overcome his health difficulties, telling him in a letter that she was looking forward to "working alongside you again when you are back to full health".

Former immigration minister Lewis, who also takes the title of minister without portfolio, said he was "honoured" to be appointed party chairman less than eight years after arriving in the House of Commons as MP for Great Yarmouth in 2010.

His promotion appeared to mark a concerted effort to revitalise Conservative campaign headquarters, with the appointment of a number of younger MPs from diverse ethnic backgrounds to senior roles in the party, including former soldier James Cleverly as deputy chair.

Junior minister Chris Skidmore was appointed vice chairman for policy, Maria Caulfield as vice chair for women, and 2017 intake MPs Kemi Badenoch and Ben Bradley as vice chairs for candidates and youth respectively.

But the shake-up was overshadowed by a blunder at HQ which saw the official @conservatives Twitter feed congratulate transport secretary Grayling on becoming chairman.

The tweet was deleted within moments of being sent, but not before it had been shared by a number of Tory MPs and reported on TV.

A Tory source said that CCHQ political director Iain Carter sent the message to a majority of the party's MPs via WhatsApp, before deleting it and saying it was sent in error.

Speculation remained rife at Westminster that several big names were on their way out of the Cabinet, with education secretary Justine Greening and the leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom all reported to be vulnerable as the Prime Minister seeks to assert her authority.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, McLoughlin said he felt it was the right time to leave the Cabinet "as we discussed some months ago".

The outgoing chairman has faced criticism over the way the general election campaign was run, but Mrs May said he had responded to the challenge with "vigour" and praised his "wisdom, hard work and dedication".