Cabinet reshuffle: Michael Gove out as Education Secretary as Cameron culls the 'male, pale and stale'
The Prime Minister has begun reshuffling members of the Cabinet
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Tuesday 15 July 2014
Michael Gove has left his post as Education Secretary in a surprise move as David Cameron carried out a sweeping Cabinet reshuffle.
After four years as a radical reformer, Mr Gove took the less senior post of Government Chief Whip. He will also have a role in campaigning and doing media interviews in the run-up to next year’s general election. He will be dubbed “Minister for the Today programme.”
Mr Gove has pushed through controversial reforms such as the expansion of free schools but his confrontational approach has alienated many in the education world, which he scathingly dubbed “the Blob.”
While he is said to be ready for a new challenge, his unexpected departure will be seen as a sign that David Cameron wants to slow the pace of education reform and build bridges with teachers before the election.
Although Downing Street denied Mr Gove had been demoted, it emerged that his salary will be cut from £134,565 a year to just under £98,740. This is because the Chief Whip is paid as a minister of state rather than as a full Cabinet member. Mr Gove will still attend Cabinet meetings.
The new Education Secretary is Nicky Morgan, a big promotion for a highly-rated minister who became a Treasury minister last October and Minister for Women in April this year. She will be seen as a more conciliatory figure who will “reach out” to teaching unions as they threaten more strikes like the one staged last week.
Nicky Morgan is the new Education Secretary and continues as Minister for Women and Equalities Treasury minister David Gauke was promoted from Exchequer Secretary to Financial Secretary, replacing Ms Morgan.
Esther McVey meanwhile was told she would continue as the Minister for Employment and Disabilities, despite being hotly tipped for a number of roles, including taking over from Sajid Javid as the Culture Secretary. Mr Cameron tweeted that she would now attend Cabinet.
Anna Soubry, who once said she initially believed the Prime Minister appointed her to the post of public health minister in 2012 because it is wrongly seen as the "soft bloody girly option", was promoted to Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence.
Priti Patel has been made the Exchequer Secretary under Chancellor George Osborne, while Claire Perry, who led the Government's campaign for filters on online pornography, replaces Stephen Hammond as Rail Minister.
Video: David Cameron's biggest reshuffle
Later in the day, the Prime Minister announced Amber Rudd would be promoted to minister at Department for Energy and Climate Change, while Penny Mordaunt - also known for taking part in ITV's programme Splash! - became the new minister at Communities and Local Govt - and Minister for Coastal Communities.
Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, was promoted to Foreign Secretary as Mr Cameron used his biggest reshuffle since becoming Prime Minister to give his Cabinet a more Eurosceptic look.
Replacing Mr Hammond will be Michael Fallon, the Minister of State for Business and the Minister of State for Energy.
Mr Hammond’s appointment is significant because he has said he is prepared to consider Britain leaving the European Union if Mr Cameron does not secure a good deal when he renegotiates the UK’s membership terms before an in/out referendum in 2017. His precedessor, William Hague, has stuck to Mr Cameron’s view that the Government intends to recommend an “in” vote.
The big promotion for Mr Hammond will be welcomed by Eurosceptic Tory MPs, some of whom accused Mr Hague of “going native” at the Foreign Office. Mr Hague becomes Leader of the Commons before leaving Parliament at next May’s election.
Mark Harper, who resigned as immigration minister earlier this year after discovering he had employed an illegal immigrant as a cleaner, has been brought back in by Mr Cameron as Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions.
Mark Harper resigned as immigration minister earlier this year In other positions, Mr Cameron said Stephen Crabb will be the new Secretary of State for Wales and Greg Clark will become Minister for Science and Universities and Minister of State at the Cabinet Office.
Jeremy Wright was told he would take the reins from the current Attorney General Dominic Grieve, while Matt Hancock was announced next as the new Minister of State for Business, Enterprise and Energy.
Nick Boles is Minister of State for the Business and Education departments, where Mr Cameron said part of his brief will be equal marriage implementation. Mike Penning will become the new Minister of State at the Home Office and Ministry of Justice.
The big shake-up was described as a cull of the “male, pale and stale” as several middle-aged men lost their places on the ministerial ladder.
Senior Tory MP Ken Clarke, 74, announced his retirement as Minister Without Portfolio on Monday evening after spending more than 20 years as a minister.
Owen Paterson, a climate change sceptic whose handling of the winter floods crisis was criticised, was sacked as Environment Secretary despite a rearguard action by Tory right-wingers to save him.
Elizabeth Truss, the Education Minister responsible for childcare, replaced Mr Paterson at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Elizabeth Truss She and Ms Morgan, who attended the Cabinet as Women’s Minister but now becomes a full Cabinet member, were among the first visitors to Downing Street today as Mr Cameron promoted the rising female stars of the generation of MPs who entered the Commons in 2010.
Other junior ministers to have lost their jobs include David Willetts, Nick Hurd, Alan Duncan and Damian Green.
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