Cameron’s radical reshuffle

photo credit: The Prime Minister's Office

Photo credit: The Prime Minister’s Office

The last couple of days have seen the most radical cabinet reshuffle of this parliament with changes throughout the government aimed at changing the face of the cabinet in preparation for the looming election in 2015.

Following an unusually long period of consistency, the reshuffle comes 4 years after the government was first formed with previous changes having resulted mostly after scandals.

Some of the bigger moves included:

Michael Gove becoming the Chief Whip; replaced at the Department for Education by Nicky Morgan.

William Hague moving to Leader of the Commons; but stepping down as an MP in 2015.

Philip Hammond changing roles from Defence Secretary to Foreign Secretary; replaced by Michael Fallon.

Ken Clark standing down as Minister without portfolio and as an MP in 2015.

Alongside changes to the top tier of ministers, there have been several changes to more junior cabinet positions. Many of these changes have seen older white men being replaced by younger more diverse MP’s in an attempt to freshen up the Conservative party’s image.

Cameron has previously attempted to increase the diversity of his cabinet firstly by promoting Sajid Javid to Culture Secretary after Maria Miller’s fall from grace and now promoting Priti Patel into a junior role.

The number of women has in the cabinet has increased from 3 to 5 and the number of members under 50 has increased from 9 to 12 since 2011. However Labour have criticised the reshuffle as a rushed attempt to redress the chronic lack of women in the top ranks of the government.

One thing that is clear, is that this cabinet is one built to fight the 2015 election. Timing the reshuffle for this summer means the new ministers can grapple with getting to know their portfolio in time to start campaigning for the next election. This cabinet is for the next parliament, not for this one.

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