The elevation of 62-year-old Michael Fallon to the Cabinet table came as a surprise to Westminster – not least to the new Defence Secretary himself.
Mr Fallon’s ministerial career stretches back to the 1980s when he was appointed to the Government benches by Margaret Thatcher.
He has been a stalwart servant of the Cameron administration, most recently in two departments headed by Liberal Democrats. He had combined the roles of Business Minister under Vince Cable and energy minister under Ed Davey.
As well as flying the Tory flag in the departments, Mr Fallon is highly rated for his authoritative television manner.
However, it was widely assumed his time in office was coming to an end as Mr Cameron looked to give his team a younger, more female-friendly complexion. As a result, his name began being floated as Britain’s next European Commissioner.
Instead the Sevenoaks MP, a devoted Thatcherite, has been handed authority over the Ministry of Defence. His business background will bring a sharp edge to efforts to bring the notoriously profligate department’s procurement spending under control.
His promotion might also be seen as a signal to veteranTories not to lose hope once younger colleagues starting landing plum ministerial jobs.