Saturday, 20 January, 2018

British PM Theresa May continues shake up of ministerial team

Housing Image Housing is among the problems Theresa May must address
Bennie Garza | 13 January, 2018, 00:00

British Prime Minister Theresa May will begin year with changes in her government.

The new Tory team is a "recognition that the party and the government needs to reflect modern Britain and needs to be more diverse and cosmopolitan", said Giles Kenningham, former director of communications at Conservative Campaign Headquarters under David Cameron, who now runs communications consultancy Trafalgar Strategy.

The reshuffle is not expected to result in any high-profile sackings, with foreign minister and Brexit proponent Boris Johnson, pro-EU finance minister Philip Hammond and Brexit Secretary David Davis all set to keep their jobs. It began when her de facto deputy and longest standing ally, Damian Green, resigned following allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior.

She has already had three secretaries of state for work and pensions, and as many justice secretaries, since she became premier in 2016.

The new minister will provide regular updates on preparation for leaving the bloc without a trade deal and have "a significant budget", the paper said.

Like Green, Lidington will stand in for May in the House of Commons when she is unable to make weekly Prime Minister's Questions.

New changes made by the British prime minister to her cabinet appear to indicate that her authority may not be as strong as she would like others to believe, according to a notable political scientist. "It will be soon".

In a letter to Mrs May last month, extracts of which have been seen by the Financial Times, he warned it was potentially discriminatory of European Union agencies to have issued guidance to businesses stating that the United Kingdom would become a "third country" outside the European Union without any reference to a future trade deal sought by both sides.

The shadow health secretary, Jon Ashworth, said: "The secretary of state for health should be here ... not pleading for a promotion in Downing Street". It is widely accepted that she felt business secretary Greg Clark should be moved.

Reports suggest May will seek to bring a wider range of talent into the cabinet, including more women, ethnic minorities and younger members.

These scenarios are ones that the government has itself warned of, however Davis told the Prime Minister the government "cannot let these actions go unchallenged" - although was cautious about making any formal move. Not only was she safe until Brexit was completed, they said, the negotiations could so enhance and fix her reputation that she might yet lead her party into the 2022 election.

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