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.