All change in Cabinet reshuffle

by Stephen Tall on June 28, 2007

The BBC website has a helpful at-a-glance photo-guide to Gordon Brown’s first cabinet here. Only Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, survives in the same post he held under Tony Blair – every other cabinet post has changed hands.

For all that, the reshuffle is perhaps not as extensive as might have been expected, though there are nine ‘new faces’ in the cabinet: Harriet Harman, Geoff Hoon, James Purnell, Ed Miliband, Ed Balls, John Denham, Baroness Ashton, Shaun Woodward and Andy Burnham. However, there were few big surprises, with the possible exception of Jacqui Smith as the first female Home Secretary. There has, as yet, been no sign of a Tory or Lib Dem defector in this ‘ministry of all the talents’.

Stephen Timms, Caroline Flint and Yvette Cooper might be a tad disappointed not to have made the cut (though Cooper will attend the Cabinet as housing minister), while Peter Hain, Des Browne and Ruth Kelly will all be relieved to have escaped the chop. Jon Cruddas, too, might feel aggrieved that his impressive third place in the deputy leadership has yet to be rewarded.

There are fewer female cabinet ministers in Mr Brown’s first cabinet (five) than were in Mr Blair’s last (eight) – though few would argue that Patricia Hewitt, Tessa Jowell or Margaret Beckett will leave a vast hole in the cabinet.