Theresa May's reshuffle increases the proportion of privately educated Cabinet ministers

TOPSHOT-BRITAIN-POLITICS-GOVERNMENT

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 a year ago 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. Brandon Lewis MP has actually been given the job.

While Theresa May plodded through prime minister's questions on Wednesday, many eyes were looking over her left shoulder at an MP sitting on the farthest bench back.

David Lidington, the former justice secretary, was moved to replace Mr Green in his responsibilities but did not take the title of first secretary.

The Cabinet changes - at least two secretaries out and seven officials promoted - are May's first major effort to refashion her top team, after months of speculation about her future.

There were other criticisms of Esther McVey's reappointment to Secretary of State for Works and Pensions where she had served under Iain Duncan Smith.

It came as an analysis by a think tank found the Cabinet now had a greater share of ministers who went to private schools than before the reshuffle. He has been replaced by Karen Bradley, formerly the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Although under pressure to differentiate her government from that of David Cameron's, May's new cabinet contains almost as many Oxbridge-educated ministers as that of her predecessor (50%).

The most senior figures in May's Cabinet, including the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and the chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, kept their jobs in the shake-up, despite calls for them to be moved or dismissed.

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May had hoped to put 2017 behind her with the departure of Damian Green, a trusted friend forced to resign last month over pornography allegations.

James Brokenshire resigned as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, citing ill-health.

In a letter to the prime minister, Brokenshire said he had a small lesion on the lung which required surgery.

Andrea Leadsom, Leader of the House of Commons, has also retained her position - despite earlier rumours to the contrary.

However, things got off to an inauspicious start when Conservatives tweeted the appointment of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling as the new party chairman only to delete the post quickly. The BBC's political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, noted the slow pace of announcements and made an ironic reference to May's widely mocked statement, made after modifying plans for social care during last year's election campaign, that "nothing has changed".

Claire Perry will also be able to attend the Cabinet as a new Business Minister.

A reshuffle that was intended as an assertion of the prime minister's authority has instead, in the cruellest way, exposed her lack of it, as middle-ranking ministers simply refused to budge from their posts. She spent more than two hours before refusing the role.

Terminator provider BPAS said it was "incredibly disappointed" with the decision due to the MP's past opposition to the decriminalisation of abortion.

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