This week one of the big announcements within government was the cabinet reshuffle, but what is it exactly? And what did the reshuffle of Autumn 2013 change?
Firstly, the proper definition of a reshuffle is the informal term for a change up of who holds the role of cabinet ministers, instigated by the head of government. I personally prefer the definition of a former politics peer of mine who said she liked to think the reshuffle consited of David Cameron “putting all of the ministers in a cabinet and shaking it lots”. In short, it is an opportunity for Cameron to replace any ministers he feels haven’t performed as well as they could have done since the last reshuffle, and an opportunity to present his party as more of a microcosm of society. It is not just the party in government that is shuffled either – today saw Ed Miliband shuffle his shadow cabinet in order to make it a more appealing cabinet to voters, so what happened this time?
It started with pre-emptive departures which left gaps for Cameron to fill, namely:
John Randall stepped down as the ‘workhorse’ of the Whips’ Office and Chloe Smith stepped down from the Cabined Office. The first of Cameron’s cabinet to be booted was Michael Moore, the Scottish Secretary, who was replaced by Lib Dem chief whip, Alistair Carmichael. His role will be particularly watched as people focus on the state of the union, and whether Scotland will secede.
Following this, Don Foster was appointed to fill Carmichael’s shoes as the Lib Dems’ new chief whip, and shortly after it is followed by news that one of David Cameron’s original leadership backers in 2005, Richard Benyon left DEFRA, while George Eustice became a minister in the department.
This was followed by a short break, after which Greg Hands was promoted as deputy chief whip – Hands is one cabinet member who is a key supporter of Osborne and so received backing from him. Another supporter of Osborne, Matthew Hancock was appointed Minister for Enterprise
Next to the cabinet was Nicky Morgan who became Economic Secretary – interestingly in this cabinet Cameron has introduce more female members, perhaps in an attempt to attract the female voter base that Labour so regularly dominates.
After this, Sajid Javid joins the cabinet as Financial Secretary – something which many people believe is a sign of Cameron trying to ditch the “tired, old, middle-aged white, wealthy man” persona that the party portrays.
At around 13:30 both Mark Prisk (Housing Minister) and Mark Hoban (Employment Minister) left cabinet, as did Jeremy Browne of the Home Office – replaced by Norman Baker.
Hugh Robertson moved to Foreign Office as Minister of State, Helen Grant to the DCMS, and Alistair Burt left the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Michael Fallon took on the roll of Industry and Energy Minister, the idea being that he has to “keep lights on + knockback Mili price pledge.”
After 3pm it was announced that Robert Goodwill had been appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department of Transport, Shailesh Vara was moving to the Ministry of Justice and Sam Gyimah was moving to the Whips’ Office. This is followed by the news that Dan Rogerson will also be joining DEFRA while Stephen Williams joins to the DCLG.
Finally, in the Whips’ Office, Karen Bradley became a whip, and Claire Perry, Amber Rudd, John Penrose, and Gavin Barwell became assistant whips.
For Labour there was also a reshuffle. Liz Kendall became Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, Emma Reynolds took over as Shadow Housing Minister, Gloria de Piero was promoted as Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, and Mary Creagh and Maria Eagle swapped to Transport Briefs. A clear show of Labour trying to appeal to their female voter base that they traditionally do well with.
Following this, Rachel Reeves became the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, while Liam Byrne was effectively demoted to Ministry for Higher Education. Chris Leslie became Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Vernon Coaker became Shadow Secretary of State for Defence while Jim Murphy moved to International Development. In addition to this, Tristram Hunt took over as Shadow Education Secretary, replacing Stephen Twigg who becomes Shadow Minister for political and constitutional reform. Finally, Jon Trickett becomes Shadow Minister without portfolio and deputy party chair, Michael Dugher takes over as Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, and Ivan Lewis becomes Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary.
All in all it will be interesting to see how each member adapts into their role, and whether it’s enough to save David Cameron in the next election.
Ellie Clifford, Undergraduate History Student at King’s College London.