Cabinet reshuffle: Theresa May set to refresh top team


The Prime Minister will seek to stamp her authority with a Cabinet reshuffle beginning on Monday amid reports that up to six senior ministers could be axed or moved.

It is known that the prime minister was looking to replace her close friend and ally Damian Green at the Cabinet Office after he was forced to quit in December.

May confirmed on Sunday that she would be making ministerial changes, but refused to disclose details.

In the past two months, as well as losing Mr Green, the PM has also seen defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon quit amid allegations around his conduct and Priti Patel resign as global development secretary after a row over unauthorised meetings with Israeli officials.

While May did not comment on the reshuffle directly, she told the BBC on Sunday that "some changes do have to be made", and a Labour party MP, citing information from colleagues in May's Conservative Party, told French news agency AFP that she would make the changes Monday.

Mrs May's Downing Street office also said that widespread reports that Cabinet ministers would discover their fate today were not inaccurate.

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He was controversially replaced by chief whip Gavin Williamson.

According to 10 Downing Street sources, top ministers Philip Hammond, Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd and David Davis are safe, although the same can't be said for Education secretary Justine Greening, who is expected to lose her portfolio.

His resignation was followed a week later by that of Ms Patel, Britain's overseas aid minister, who stepped down over unauthorised meetings in Israel.

Former minister for armed forces Penny Mordaunt assumed Patel's position on November 9.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been seen a favourite for the job but the Prime Minister may find it hard to move him in the midst of an NHS winter crisis that has seen tens of thousands of operations cancelled.

May is also predicted to promote more women and MPs from ethnic minorities as she tries to counter an alleged culture of sexual harassment in Westminster and criticism her party is too narrowly representative of multicultural Britain.

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Other current ministers reported to be vulnerable include Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom, Business Secretary Greg Clark and party chairman Patrick McLoughlin.

At a time when the UK's governing Tory party is split over Brexit policy, the threat of promotion or demotion could help keep some ministers in line.

May's Brexit focus has now shifted toward what future relationship Britain will forge with the European Union, and she said Sunday she was looking for a trade deal that applied to goods and services.

But pressed on whether she would still be there the next time the country goes to the polls, she replied: "Obviously I serve as long as people want me to serve".

She had reportedly planned a sweeping overhaul of her cabinet before June's snap election but after failing to win the election outright she ended up only making a number of modest changes. "I'm in this for the long term", she said.

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