Prime Minister will attempt to solve the Tory's 'women problem' in Government reshuffle next week

The move is designed to present a more female-friendly face to the electorate

David Cameron is set to tackle his “women problem” by promoting a series of high-flying female ministers in the Government reshuffle due next week.

The Prime Minister is preparing to elevate at least two more women to the Cabinet in the final planned shake-up of his top team before the election.

Front-runners for top jobs are Esther McVey, the Employment Minister, and Liz Truss, the Education Minister, who have both impressed Downing Street over the last year.

The move is designed to combat the male-dominated image of senior Tory ranks and present a more female-friendly face to the electorate.

Following Maria Miller’s resignation as Culture Secretary in April, just three of the 22 full Cabinet posts are filled by women.

Female ministers and MPs are expected to advance at all levels of the ministerial ladder.

Among those who could progress up the ranks are Nicky Morgan and Andrea Leadsom, who are both Treasury ministers, as well as the Health Minister, Anna Soubry.

Harriett Baldwin, Claire Perry and Amber Rudd are all tipped for promotion from the whips office to posts in Whitehall departments.

The backbench MPs Penny Mordaunt, who appeared on the reality television programme Splash!, and Priti Patel, who sits on the Tory party’s policy board, are also in line for jobs.

Nicky Morgan, a former corporate lawyer Nicky Morgan, a former corporate lawyer (Getty Images)
In opposition Mr Cameron promised that by the end of this first term in government at least one third of his ministers would be female.

He has so far fallen well short of that ambition with women currently occupying 18 per cent of ministerial posts.

Nick Clegg, who is also conscious of the dearth of female Liberal Democrat ministers, is expected to promote the Business Minister Jo Swinson and the whip Jenny Willott.

Sir George Young will step down as Chief Whip nearly two years after returning to the Cabinet following Andrew Mitchell’s resignation. He is expected to be replaced by his deputy, Greg Hands, a close ally of Chancellor George Osborne.

Kenneth Clarke, the Minister Without Portfolio, who attends Cabinet meetings, looks certain to return to the backbenches after a ministerial career spanning four decades.

Amid speculation that the reshuffle could be wider than originally forecast, a number of senior Cabinet figures could be vulnerable.

They include Andrew Lansley, the Commons Leader, and Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary.

There has been speculation, which has been denied by Tory sources, that Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, and Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, could swap jobs.

Esther McVey, a Liverpudlian and MP for Wirral West Esther McVey, a Liverpudlian and MP for Wirral West (Getty Images)
None of the current Lib Dem Cabinet ministers will lose his post, with Mr Clegg limiting any changes to lower levels of his ministerial team.

Mr Cameron’s calculations could be complicated by his decision over who to nominate as Britain’s next European Commissioner. It will be a key appointment in the run-up to a referendum on EU membership in 2017 if the Conservatives win the election.

Several names in the frame – including Mr Lansley, the Universities Minister David Willetts and the Business Minister Michael Fallon – are government members.

There have also been suggestions that Mr Cameron might want to propose a female Commissioner. One possible candidate is the Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers, a former Euro MP.

However, momentum is growing behind the former Tory leader Lord (Michael) Howard.

He is close to Mr Cameron and would be a strong contender to land a plum role in the Commission such as an economic portfolio.

If he were to go to Brussels, that would also avoid a potentially perilous by-election.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
i100
News
Budapest, 1989. Sleepware and panties.
newsDavid Hlynsky's images of Soviet Union shop windows shine a light on our consumerist culture
News
In humans, the ability to regulate the expression of genes through thoughts alone could open up an entirely new avenue for medicine.
science
News
Williams says: 'The reason I got jobs was because they would blow the budget on the big guys - but they only had to pay me the price of a cup of tea'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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: Corporate Tax Associate - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Law Costs - London City

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...

Austen Lloyd: In-House Solicitor / Company Secretary - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee