Local MP refused new job offer from Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May leads her first cabinet meeting of the new year

Over time, she added, May will "realise she should never have done [the reshuffle] at all" and the latest PR own-goal will only help Labour, who can "sit back and watch the Conservatives screw it up themselves".

Ms Greening was succeeded as Education Secretary by Damian Hinds, who was promoted from being a junior work and pensions minister.

A desire to maintain that equilibrium partly explains why the two men remained in their posts, despite criticism of Johnson's performance as foreign secretary and calls from hard-line exit supporters for Hammond to be fired. Bradley has been made Northern Ireland Secretary succeeding James Brokenshire who announced earlier Monday he was resigning on health grounds. Brandon Lewis MP has actually been given the job.

Prime Minister Theresa May is said to be "disappointed" but respects the former Education Secretary's decision to quit.

Tuesday's moves were seen as May preparing for a potential successor as Tory leader from the party's next generation, after media reports about senior ministers such as Boris Johnson and David Davis eyeing up the role.

Former work and pensions secretary David Gauke has taken over the roles of Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary vacated by Mr Lidington.

In a reshuffle that unraveled over the course of several hours and lasted into the night, it became clear that the key takeaway was how little wriggle room May seemed to have to enact change as minister after minister were confirmed in their posts.

Her first act was to replace the Tory party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin as punishment for having spearheaded a poor campaign in the general election in June past year when the number of Conservative MPs slipped from 331 to 318, thereby depriving the Prime Minister of an overall majority in the 650-seat House of Commons.

She said it was good to see more female whips, but it would have been better to have a woman as chief whip and suggested it felt like an "afterthought" to make Amber Rudd minister for women and equalities.

Sutton Trust
Sutton Trust

Former defence secretary Michael Fallon and former first minister Damian Green, who were felled by scandal, may feel a diminished sense of loyalty to the prime minister who hung them out to dry.

But Mr Lidington will fill in for Mrs May at Prime Minister's Questions and take on some of the responsibilities for chairing influential Cabinet committees, including some relating to Brexit.

The Press Association reported that Brokenshire is set to undergo major surgery within the next few weeks for a "lesion to his right lung".

The most high-profile cabinet ministers all kept their jobs.

Setting the tone for a turbulent day, the prime minister had tried to move Jeremy Hunt from his post but insiders said that he passionately argued the case that his six-year stint as health secretary and he emerged with a beefed up role of health and social care secretary.

According to The Sun's Tom Newton Dunn, Hunt was supposed to move to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy brief, but refused.

And so too do Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, despite widespread speculation that Mrs May would demote them.

Instead, immigration minister Brendan Lewis arrived at Number 10, a sure sign of promotion, followed by rising star James Cleverly.

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