Theresa May's new cabinet starters have work to do

There is more information than ever out there but it is also harder to tell what's true and what's fake news.     
       Adam Boulton

There is more information than ever out there but it is also harder to tell what's true and what's fake news. Adam Boulton

May's New Year's goal is to convey message that his Government's field of action does not end in Brexit, in face of a year in which local elections await in spring, in which Labour Party expects to see its good performance in L As surveys. And some of the new lineup, including Bradley, and Saffron Walden MP Kemi Badenoch, presented a younger, fresher face to the world.

It has also been reported that Justine Greening, the education minister, and Business Secretary Greg Clark could be moved to other positions in the cabinet. "The reshuffle was a farce showing the prime minister is weak".

May also replaced Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire after he resigned to undergo major surgery, as a small lesion was found on his right lung.

The reboot is nonetheless predicted to be the biggest overhaul of her team since she took power in July 2016, with reports of up to a quarter of cabinet roles impacted.

But her most senior colleagues - including Chancellor Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Brexit Secretary David Davis - will remain in post.

May confirmed on Sunday (7) that she would be making ministerial changes, but refused to disclose details.

- Sajid Javid was given an expanded role, adding housing to his brief in the newly-named position of housing, communities and local government minister.

Junior trade minister Mark Garnier was the first to go, tweeting that he was "very sad to have lost my job" but would support the government from the backbenches of the House of Commons.

"They should be demoting this health secretary", he said in a TV interview criticising Hunt's performance.

As she contemplated the year ahead over the Christmas break, May had some reason to hope it would be a significant improvement on a mishap-strewn 2017.

The Prime Minister said she wanted to lead the Conservatives into the next general election - due to take place in 2022 - saying: "I'm not a quitter".

Back then, Downing Street appeared paralysed by indecision, as a series of high-profile advisers departed.

Seven months on, there should be fewer questions about the prime minister's short-term survival, not least because few potential rivals fancy months spearheading debilitating negotiations with Brussels.

The reshuffle was meant to "refresh" May's team after a torrid 2017, when she called a snap election only to lose her parliamentary majority, and in which three of her senior ministers were forced to resign in scandals.

But Monday's comings and goings were far from the radical refresh that had been trailed.

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