YESTERDAY’S reshuffle left the great offices of state untouched but the changes David Cameron made to his cabinet provide an insight into the Prime Minister’s plans for the second half of this government.
He has turned to trusted allies, with aides saying the focus is on ensuring government policies pass into legislation within the timeframe of this parliament rather than launching new ideas.
Few big names suffered the ignominy of dropping out of the government altogether, with Jeremy Hunt avoiding demotion despite being dragged into the Leveson inquiry and Ken Clarke managing to stay on in the role of wise sage.
Meanwhile Nick Clegg focussed his efforts on bringing former Treasury secretary David Laws back to assist in the Cabinet Office while surrendering all Lib Dem influence in departments such as the Ministry of Defence.
Our graphic shows that the number of women attending cabinet remains painfully low, despite the innovative use of job titles that will enable Baroness Warsi to remain at the table.
A vision of the government’s future direction can be found in the list of junior ministers to the right – remember those names, as some will be in the cabinet sooner than you think.
International development secretary
Demotion The former transport secretary paid the price for backing government policy on Heathrow expansion. Her long-standing opposition to a third runway is a problem now a U-turn is a possibility.
Effect on policy Little, since David Cameron has pledged to increase foreign aid by agreed increments despite opposition from some Conservative activists. Greening will look to carry on the work of her predecessor Andrew Mitchell.
Minister without portfolio
Demotion The Europhile and liberal Clarke put up a fight but was eventually removed from his position as justice secretary. Despite this he said it is “rather a privilege” to stay in the cabinet, having served in every Conservative government since 1972.
Effect on policy Minister without portfolio has often been disparaged as “Minister for the Today programme” but the former chancellor is set to draw on his experience and offer advice on a wide range of matters, including the economy. Yesterday Clarke was making the most of his new role by watching Surrey play Nottinghamshire at The Oval.
Promotion The well-regarded member for Clwyd West has spent the last two years as a junior minister in the department.
Effect on policy The position has little real power because many of its former functions have been devolved to the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff. But Jones’ appointment means that Welsh interests are represented by an MP whose constituency is in the country – unlike his predecessor, Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham.
Sideways move Mitchell was a staunch defender of the government’s overseas aid spending despite the economic downturn. He attempted to instil a policy of targeted financial support rather than hand-outs to developing countries.
Effect on policy? Nicknamed “Thrasher” at public school, the former UN peacekeeper has been brought in to deal with an unusually rebellious parliamentary party. His appointment was announced first in an attempt to show that party discipline is back.
Deputy foreign office minister
Demotion Despite publicly asking to stay as party chairman Warsi has taken a joint role that allows her to attend cabinet meetings as a representative of the foreign office and minister for faith and communities. Downing Street has designated her a “senior minister of state”, a new title.
Effect on policy Warsi had many opponents within the party but it may have been too much for Cameron to remove one of the few women in his government and the only non-white cabinet member.
Promotion Twenty years of controlling rebellious MPs in the whips office means that the former miner is almost unknown outside Westminster but has plenty of experience of pushing through controversial legislation.
Effect on policy Transport policy requires long term planning but McLoughlin becomes the eighth secretary of state in the last 10 years. However he does have past experience as aviation minister between 1989 and 1992. Decisions on Heathrow expansion will be taken further up the food chain so the HS2 railway will be his main concern. One problem – he’s afraid of flying.
Promotion One of the Conservatives’ leading lights in opposition, he had to settle for a junior ministerial role after the arrival of the Lib Dems. Loved by the Tory right, he replaces the more liberal Ken Clarke. He is the first non-lawyer to become Lord Chancellor since the 16th century.
Effect on policy? Expect to see a shift to the right in prison policy. Grayling backs tougher sentencing and in opposition favoured strengthening the rights of homeowners to defend their property.
Sideways move The former culture secretary spent most of the last year embroiled in the phone hacking scandal and it is astonishing that he has survived at all, especially in such as a high profile position. Unlike his predecessor Andrew Lansley, Hunt has little experience of health issues.
Effect on policy Potentially substantial. He will be tasked with rescuing what’s left of the NHS reforms, which will be crucial for deciding the future capacity of the health system. In the past he has supported the provision of homeopathic medicine on the NHS and in 2008 voted for the time limit for abortions to be reduced from 24 to 12 weeks.
Promotion Previously minister for disabled people at the Department for Work and Pensions, this is a fast rise to cabinet level. She will also become minister for women and equalities.
Effect on policy Miller will inherit a department that has been mired in controversy as a result of its involvement in News Corp’s takeover of BSkyB and the Leveson inquiry. Some will see her appointment as a sign that Cameron will veto any calls by Leveson for the statutory regulation of the press.
Promotion As housing minister he was a constant presence in the media, often defending party lines rather than selling his own policies. State educated, he set up a printing firm in his twenties – but this week was embarrassed by claims he used to sell software that enabled purchasers to spam Google search results.
Effect on policy Shapps is viewed as a more presentable form of the Conservatives who can appeal to swing voters in middle-income areas. His job is to sell government policy to sceptical voters and engage with party members.
Leader of the house
Demotion Lansley paid the price for the catastrophic political failure of his attempts to reform the NHS by introducing more competition into the system. Cameron’s former boss at the Conservative research department has held the health brief since 2004 but he will not get the chance to see his reforms through to the end.
Effect on policy Very little in his new job – it mainly consists of co-ordinating the progress of legislation through the House of Commons.
Northern Ireland secretary
Promotion The MP for the outer London set of Chipping Barnet has spent the last two years as a junior minister at the Department for Transport and was recently sent out to defend government’s position on rail fares.
Effect on policy Northern Ireland requires a more hands-on approach compared to the Wales and Scotland offices. The province has recently been hit by several days of rioting and Villiers will have to get to know the region fast to play her part in reforming the existing powersharing agreement.
Promotion A climate change sceptic who campaigned for fox-hunting, Paterson will bring a new approach to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He is from the right of the party and has a history of campaigning on traditional social conservative values and rural issues.
Effect on policy Paterson favours a substantial reduction in government subsidies for green energy, which has worried environmentalists. He backs efforts to extract shale gas from Britain’s reserves.
Which cabinet ministers are staying put?
Deputy Prime Minister
Chancellor of the exchequer
Minister of state
Minister for the cabinet office
Universities and science minister
Iain Duncan Smith
Work and pensions secretary
Energy and climate change secretary
Communities and local government
Chief secretary to the Treasury
Leader of the House of Lords
Economic secretary to the Treasury
Work and pensions minister
Armed forces minister
Deputy leader of the house
Cabinet office and education minister
Foreign office minister
Work and pensions minister
Minister for economic delivery
Cabinet office secretary
Northern Ireland minister
Home office minister
International development minister
Energy and climate change minister