Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Right Turn for Cameron in First Reshuffle; Tory Critics Pleased by New Faces

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Right Turn for Cameron in First Reshuffle; Tory Critics Pleased by New Faces

Article excerpt

Byline: Gavin Cordon

DAVID Cameron yesterday conducted his first reshuffle, with a shake-up of his top team which appeared designed to quell unrest within his Conservative Party.

But he sparked a row with London Mayor Boris Johnson by moving Justine Greening, a strong opponent of a third runway at Heathrow Airport, away from the transport brief.

Mr Johnson accused the Prime Minister of planning to ditch his promise not to expand Heathrow, but Downing Street insisted the appointment of Patrick McLoughlin as Transport Secretary did not signal a shift in Government policy.

Other high-profile moves included the appointment of Jeremy Hunt as Health Secretary, replacing the architect of controversial NHS reforms Andrew Lansley, who is demoted to Leader of the Commons.

Mr Hunt's promotion, despite controversy over his handling of the BSkyB takeover bid while Culture Secretary and the Liberal Democrats' refusal to back him in Parliament, was seen as a reward for the successful delivery of the London Olympics.

And the former banker credited with helping bring the Olympics in on budget and on time, Locog chief executive Paul Deighton, was brought into the Government as Treasury minister for in-frastructure and economic delivery. The coalition's first major reshuffle was discussed by Mr Cameron and his Liberal Democrat deputy Nick Clegg, who brought his close ally David Laws back into government two years after his resignation over an expenses scandal. But many of the Conservative appointments may not please the junior party. The Prime Minister promoted hardliner Chris Grayling to Justice Secretary, replacing 72-year-old veteran Ken Clarke, who had the support of many Lib Dems on issues like human rights but was criticised by the Tory right as too soft.

Mr Clarke remains in the Government as minister without portfolio and will sit on key Cabinet committees including economic affairs and the National Security Council.

Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson, a strong supporter of fox-hunting, was switched to the environment brief. Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Gove have held on to the key roles of work and pensions and education, though it is understood Mr Duncan Smith turned down a move to justice.

The most senior ministers, including Mr Osborne, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Home Secretary Theresa May, all remain in their posts.

Maria Miller had one of the biggest promotions, becoming Culture Secretary after previously serving as minister for the disabled.

Theresa Villiers, formerly transport minister, was appointed Northern Ireland Secretary.

Casualties of the changes included Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan and Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, who leave the Government.

The changes won a warm reception from some of Mr Cameron's biggest critics on the Tory backbenches, including right-winger Peter Bone, who said the PM was "listening to his party", and Nadine Dorries, who tweeted that "I'm liking this reshuffle". …

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