David Cameron and Ed Miliband vote for women in reshuffles

Party leaders to promote a number of female MPs to more prominent roles

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Indy Politics

David Cameron is preparing to increase the number of women in his government this week to meet his pledge of having a third of female ministers by 2015.

While one or two cabinet ministers may see their jobs change, the main shake-up, expected tomorrow, will be in the junior ministerial ranks, with Liz Truss, Anna Soubry and Helen Grant tipped for promotion, along with Jessica Lee, a relatively unknown MP who is parliamentary aide to Dominic Grieve. The Prime Minister was heavily criticised a year ago for a reshuffle which saw the number of women in the Cabinet decrease from five to four.

There were rumours in Whitehall this weekend that Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin will be moved from his post – although not out of the Cabinet altogether – after complaints that the case for HS2 has not been made clear enough to voters. Mr Cameron and George Osborne are considering giving the job to someone who can better argue the case in the media and in Parliament.

Once the government reshuffle is complete, Ed Miliband will carry out his own shake-up, with Rachel Reeves, Stella Creasy and Gloria de Piero seen as overdue for promotion.

Andy Burnham's future is uncertain. Mr Cameron believes he should be sacked for allowing the Mid-Staffs crisis to happen on his watch. But if Mr Miliband removes him from the health post, it will hand victory to the PM. The education spokesman, Stephen Twigg, and work and pensions spokesman, Liam Byrne, are also rumoured to be in danger.