Major cabinet reshuffles are often used to ‘refresh’ a government, by removing unpopular ministers and promoting popular ones. When a Minister suddenly resigns, the Prime Minister may be forced to carry out a ‘mini-reshuffle’ to fill the position. This is usually done quickly and an announcement about the new Minister is expected the same day, sometimes because the resignation is not as ‘sudden’ as we are made to believe.
Only a couple of hours after Culture Secretary Maria Miller’s resignation this morning, David Cameron announced on Twitter that Sajid Javid MP will replace her as the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media, Sport and Equalities. His political rise has been impressively swift. In just four years he has been promoted from a new MP to the Cabinet.
However, his appointment takes the Government further away from its target of having a Cabinet where a third of its members are women. In February David Cameron conceded that there are not enough women in his Government. Replacing Maria Miller with a man means that out of the 22 front bench ministers, only 3 are women.
Minutes later the Prime Minister tweeted that Nicky Morgan has been promoted from Economic Secretary to Financial Secretary to the Treasury, and will also become Minister for Women, attending Cabinet in that role. Shortly afterwards, another tweet announced Andrea Leadsom MP as the new Economic Secretary to the Treasury. But is that enough? How many more tweets should we expect?
A reshuffle can also be used as an opportunity to create, abolish and rename departments and to reassign responsibilities among departments. The current ‘mini reshuffle’ could still take a couple of days to complete as people are moved around. And as Maria Miller’s time in the spotlight fades, the press will begin scrutinising the newly appointed Ministers… until the next reshuffle.
Summary of the 9 April reshuffle
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The gender balance in political parties:
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Mark Menzies MP
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Mark Harper’s resignation as Immigration Minister
One door closes, another opens?