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East Hampshire MP appointed as Education Secretary

Damian Hinds

8:53am 9th January 2018

Theresa May's new Cabinet will meet today after her plan for a reshuffle backfired when two ministers refused to move yesterday.

The health secretary and South West Surrey MP Jeremy Hunt is staying on after turning down the business brief.

Justine Greening quit when she was asked to switch from education to work and pensions.

She has been replaced by East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds.

Later, she tweeted: "Social mobility matters to me and our country more than my ministerial career."

Sources close to the departing minister told Sky News: "She should have absolutely expected to continue. She saw people who've been massively disloyal, others not competent, allowed to stay in Cabinet and even get expanded briefs."

The PM's attention will now turn to junior ministers, as last night some within her party questioned what the point was of the changes thus far.

Nicholas Soames, MP for Mid Sussex, tweeted: "Is that it? I don't mean to be rude or to be seen to be disloyal but there needs to be a major improvement to the reshuffle tomorrow."

:: Cabinet reshuffle - Who's in and who's out

Today's more junior appointments will signal who the Prime Minister sees as rising stars within the party. These supporting roles are coveted by new intake MPs wanting to get a foot on the ministerial ladder.

Ms Greening's departure was the biggest upset yesterday after the Prime Minister kept all the political big beasts in her Cabinet in place, including Chancellor and Runnymede and Weybridge MP Philip Hammond and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Even the replacement of Damian Green as First Secretary of State did not happen as David Lidington took on many of his responsibilities without the title.

Mr Hunt was another minister who refused to budge after being offered a swap to Business Secretary. Instead, he increased his role - his job title changed from Health Secretary to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

:: What the newspapers say about the Cabinet reshuffle

Critics will regard it as a sign of weakness that the PM did not feel able to impose any significant change in the most senior ranks. Business Secretary Greg Clark, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom were all tipped for demotions but kept their roles.

Newspapers were also over-briefed for changes that so far have not transpired, such as a "no deal" Brexit minister.

The adjusting of titles added to the sense of tinkering. Sajid Javid expanded his job title, adding the housing to his role as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Last night, Jeremy Corbyn told a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party: "You can't make up for nearly eight years of failure by changing the name of a department."

:: Analysis from Sky's Political Editor on May's reshuffle

However, leading doctors have welcomed Downing Street's decision to merge health and social care.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said: "We support the bringing together of health and social care into the portfolio of one minister as we recognise that what happens to patients in the NHS is profoundly impacted by the state of social care."

In an embarrassing twist, Mr Hunt was forced to explain why he had "liked" a tweet stating that Ms Greening had left the Government.

Mr Hunt tweeted: "Like button pressed by accident. Justine was an excellent minister and will be a great loss to govt."

Other changes included David Gauke taking over the role of Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary. Esther McVey was eventually given the vacancy at the Department of Work and Pensions.

Karen Bradley took on the role of Northern Ireland Secretary vacated by James Brokenshire for health reasons. Digital minister Matt Hancock takes over as Culture Secretary.

Brexit Secretary David Davis, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Environment Secretary and Surrey Heath MP Michael Gove, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, Transport Secretary and Epsom and Ewell MP Chris Grayling and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox all remain in the same jobs.

Downing Street said the reshuffle was seen by Mrs May as "an opportunity to refresh the Government and to give added impetus to the PM's reform agenda while continuing to deliver on Brexit".

But Liberal Democrat chief whip Alistair Carmichael said the whole affair could be summed up in the PM's previous comment that "nothing has changed", adding: "Theresa May wanted to reassert her authority but has come out of this looking weaker than ever."

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