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Theresa May to start shifting ministers in Cabinet reshuffle

12 January 2018

While Westminster pundits have reported the senior ministers including Home Secretary, Chancellor, and Foreign Secretary minister will remain in post, up to a dozen other cabinet posts are expected to change, with the possibility of new ministerial positions created to support the Brexit process. It won't be easy and the new starters will need to hit the ground running.

The reboot is nonetheless predicted to be the biggest overhaul of her team since she took power in July 2016, with reports of up to a quarter of cabinet roles impacted. May's closest friend in Parliament, Damian Green, who was forced to resign.

May first needed to navigate the fraught opening round of Brexit talks as cabinet colleagues battled in the background, with an eye on succeeding her.

But she got a boost last month when the European Union agreed to start discussing future trade relations with Britain.

Education Secretary Justine Greening resigned rather than be transferred to the welfare and pensions department, while Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt also reportedly refused to leave and stayed in his post.

In a blow, her Minister for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, stepped down because of ill-health.

Hamstrung by her inability to move the "big beasts" and constrained by the need to preserve the fragile balance of power over Brexit around her Cabinet table, the United Kingdom prime minister largely stuck to the status quo, keeping the figures - or in Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, the most beastly figure from the vantage point of 10 Downing Street - who have made her life so hard these past 18 months in power.

Sir Patrick McLoughlin, the outgoing Conservative party chairman, has confirmed that he has left the cabinet.

May is likely to take the opportunity to bring forward some more junior ministers, with Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis and Justice Minister Dominic Raab among those tipped for promotion.

The year ahead promises to be fraught for a prime minister who has lurched from crisis to crisis for months.

"After all, it was Theresa May herself who said in her Lancaster House speech in January 2017, and repeated in her Florence speech in September, that "no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain, it is right that the government should prepare for every eventuality". With the Brexit negotiations now safely into their second phase, her position appeared stronger than in the aftermath of the general election.

But pressed on the BBC1's Andrew Marr Show on whether she would still be there the next time the country goes to the polls, she replied: "Obviously I serve as long as people want me to serve".

Theresa May to start shifting ministers in Cabinet reshuffle