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15/07/2014

Boles moved out in Cabinet reshuffle

Words: Sam Waddicor
Nick Boles

Planning minister Nick Boles has been moved out of planning to become joint minister for business and education in a major ministerial reshuffle aimed at bringing more women and younger MPs into government roles.

Brandon LewisHe is replaced as planning minister by Great Yarmouth MP and former local government minister Brandon Lewis (left), who has been promoted to minister of state with responsibility for housing and planning. Lewis, a former council leader in Eric Pickles' Brentwood constituency, was hitherto a junior minister in the DCLG with responsibility for local government, fire services, high streets, travellers and community pubs.

The DCLG also has a new face in Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, who has become a junior minister with responsibility for coastal communities, communities and local government and supporting Lewis with planning casework. A colourful character seen as a rising star by some, Mordaunt is taking up her first ministerial position.

Energy and climate change

Energy and climate minister Greg Barker - the number two in the energy department, who helped run David Cameron's leadership campaign - has also left his position. His departure is thought to signal a Conservative move away from pro-green rhetoric in favour of a more right-wing message that will appeal to core voters. Hastings and Rye MP and former assistant whip Amber Rudd becomes the new junior minister for climate change.

Environment, food and rural affairs

Another major move in the reshuffle sees the much-maligned Owen Paterson being replaced by Liz Truss as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Truss, a former education minister under Michael Gove, has been the MP for South West Norfolk since the 2010 election. Before becoming an MP she worked for a decade in the energy and communications industry.

Transport

John Hayes, MP for South Holland and the Deepings, has been appointed a minister of state for transport. Hayes has most recently worked as minister without portfolio at the cabinet office and senior parliamentary advisor to the Prime Minister - and will retain his cabinet role. His specific treansport responsibilities are yet to be determined, according to the Gov.uk website. Devizes MP Claire Perry moves from the whips' office to become a junior transport minister.

Devolved nations

There has also been movement in the devolved nations departments with both David Jones, Welsh secretary, and Andrew Robathan, minister of state for Northern Ireland, leaving the government. Jones is replaced by Stephen Crabb, MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, who joined Parliament in 2005 and has worked as a lord commissioner of HM Treasury and Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Wales office up to now.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles was strongly rumoured to be on the move before the reshuffle with the chief whip's position mentioned as a likely option. However, with education secretary Michael Gove moving there it appears that Pickles will remain in his current role.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said on Sky news yesterday about the reshuffle: “I think if he was serious about having women in his cabinet, he has had four years to do so. There are only three women in the cabinet of between 20 and 30 people at the moment and I think this is going to look really like a last-minute worry about votes because he knows that he has got a real blind spot when it comes to women."

Nick Boles picture (c) Justin Lambert; Brandon Lewis picture courtesy of DCLG

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