Cameron tries to fix 'women problem' in the lower ranks

PM uses class of 2010 to redress the gender balance

The lower ranks of government have been bolstered with women from the Conservatives' 2010 intake of new MPs, as David Cameron yesterday tried to address concerns that his reshuffle had demoted senior women from the Cabinet – and that the Coalition is out of touch with women voters.

With the full list of ministerial changes emerging yesterday, a key feature was the rapid promotion of Tory MPs elected two years ago. Among those about half are women – moving into key departments such as Education, Health and Justice. Mr Cameron, who has faced the charge that he has a "women problem", has pledged to have women in one-third of ministerial posts by 2015.

Those promoted include Liz Truss, once a member of CND, who has been put in charge of early-years education with a remit to make childcare more affordable. She has recently published research in the area and her promotion is a clear sign that the Government wants to bring forward new proposals on an issue that Mr Cameron believes will be vital at the next election.

Also promoted is Anna Soubry who becomes Under-Secretary at Health. Once a presenter on Central Television, she retrained as a barrister, was a member of David Cameron's A-list of candidates and was tipped for promotion. She is on the left of the party and is close to Ken Clarke – with the pair sharing neighbouring seats.

Former lawyer Helen Grant, the MP for Maidstone and the Weald, is the Conservatives' first black female MP. Before being promoted to Under-Secretary at the Justice Department she sat on the Justice Select Committee and criticised plans to reform legal aid.

The other noticeable feature of those 2010 MPs chosen for early promotion is their closeness to George Osborne.

Some Tory backbenchers expressed concern that Mr Cameron had prioritised promoting the new intake of Tory MPs over those elected in 2005.

They pointed out that a number of the new ministers did not have extensive managerial experience and could have benefited from longer on the backbenches before being promoted.

They pointed to the experience of Chloe Smith – elected in a by-election in 2009 – who was rapidly promoted to Economic Secretary to the Treasury in October last year only to get effectively sidelined in this reshuffle. She now takes on a less demanding role in the Cabinet Office after being blamed for a faltering performance while being questioned by Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight.

The more outspoken members of the new intake have been sidelined. Jesse Norman, who openly defied Mr Cameron on House of Lords reform but who is seen as a rising intellectual star in the Parliamentary party, looks set to remain on the backbenches.

Leading ladies promoted in the reshuffle

Anna Soubry

Under Secretary at Health

Previously not afraid to speak her mind – she once supported the legalisation of cannabis – she now has the job of selling the Government's controversial heath reforms.

Esther McVey

Under Secretary at Work and Pensions

Described as a "glamorous, sparky, fast-talking Liverpudlian television presenter", McVey once worked on GMTV with Eamonn Holmes. She now has the drier task of implementing Universal Credit.

Helen Grant

Under Secretary at Justice

The first black female Tory MP helped Oliver Letwin put together the policy review in opposition before inheriting Ann Widdecombe's seat. In 2008 Grant was quoted a saying she would "never play the race card".

Liz Truss

Education Minister

Not from a traditional Tory background, Truss was once a member of the CND and a leading Liberal Democrat at university. Recently the New Statesman dubed her Iron Lady 2.0.

Sport
sportGareth Bale, Carl Froch and Kelly Gallagher also in the mix for award
News
Japan's Suntory Beverage & Food has bought GlaxoSmithKline's Lucozade and Ribena
news
News
A tongue-eating louse (not the one Mr Poli found)
newsParasitic louse appeared inside unfilleted sea bass
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne celebrates after salvaging a point with the Southampton equaliser
footballAston Villa vs Southampton report
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
Out and about: for 'Glee' character Bert Hummel, having a gay son was a learning curve
lifeEven 'cool' parents need help parenting gay teens
News
peopleJack Monroe accuses David Cameron of 'misty-eyed rhetoric'
News
The illusionist believes hypnotism helped him to deal with the lack of control he felt growing up
people
News
Tana Ramsay gave evidence in a legal action in which her husband, Gordon, is accusing her father, Christopher Hutcheson, of using a ghost writer machine to “forge” his signature
peopleTana Ramsay said alleged discovery was 'extremely distressing'
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Windsor and Aljaz Skorjanec rehearse their same-sex dance together on Strictly Come Dancing
TV
Money
Anyone over the age of 40 seeking a loan with a standard term of 25 years will be borrowing beyond a normal retirement age of 65, and is liable to find their options restricted
propertyAnd it's even worse if you're 40
Arts and Entertainment
Perhaps longest awaited is the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with Brazil’s Walter Salles directing and Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen as the Beat-era outsiders
books
Arts and Entertainment
theatreSinger to join cast of his Broadway show after The Last Ship flounders at the box office
Life and Style
fashion'To start singing with Pharrell is not that bad, no?'
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor

£30000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor - Ke...

Argyll Scott International: Risk Assurance Manager

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Hi All, I'm currently recruiting for t...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Ashdown Group: IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible