British PM Theresa Might plans Cupboard modifications as Brexit enters new section


Far from asserting her authority, the cosmetic changes to the British prime minister's top team she unveiled on Monday highlight her failure to make her own political weather.

But May has said that she still hoped to lead her Tory party into the next election, which must be called by 2022. Instead of the wholesale cabinet clearout she had planned if she had increased her majority - chucking out the chancellor, Philip Hammond, among others - she just brought her old friend Green closer to her side as first secretary, and gave Michael Gove the environment job.

A new chairman of May's Conservative party was announced on Twitter, only for the tweet to be deleted and another man named for the post. David Lidington, the justice secretary, replaced Green on Monday but was not given Green's title of first secretary of state.

"No wonder Theresa May's struggling to negotiate Brexit - she can't even organise a reshuffle", tweeted opposition Labour MP Stephen Kinnock.

Nine new MPs from a diverse range of backgrounds were made vice chairs of the party and, in an unusual move, posed with the prime minister outside No.10 Downing Street as her reshuffle began.

May has said she intends to stay in office "as long as people want me to serve", but previous year saw numerous reports of plots to oust her - and many ministers will have their eye on a future leadership challenge.

These scenarios are ones that the government has itself warned of, however Davis told the Prime Minister the government "cannot let these actions go unchallenged" - although was cautious about making any formal move.

May's room for manoeuvre is limited by heading a minority government and the need to maintain a delicate Cabinet balance of eurosceptic and pro-European ministers as major Brexit decisions loom.

Negotiations on a transition deal to ease the break begin this month, while talks on a post-Brexit trade agreement between Britain and the European Union are set to start in March.

The reshuffle was prompted in part by the ousting of Damian Green, May's deputy and the de facto deputy prime minister. Britain is due to leave the bloc in March 2019, and although it has reached agreement on the key separation issues, the toughest talks on the future relationship have yet to begin.

Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth was scornful of the prospect of Hunt as deputy prime minister.

Jo Johnson, the younger brother of Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, was promoted to minister of state at the department for transport and minister for London.