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.

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I’m glad we’re not buying the line Gordon wants us to, that this is ‘all change’. All that has happened is that people who have been Secretary of State for A, B and C over the last ten years, have now been appointed as Secretary of State for D (with only a couple of very junior exceptions).

I have illustrated this in slightly more detail, in a few senior cases.

by Jeremy Hargreaves on June 28, 2007 at 8:32 pm. Reply #

So 9 out of 22 of the new Cabinet are new faces, but that isn’t change enough?

How many does it need to be?

Many more, and I suspect people would be complaining about “Brown panic” “sacking everyone with government experience”

by Glass House on June 28, 2007 at 11:29 pm. Reply #

Oh and Jeremy Hargreaves, you’ll find that the “couple of junior exceptions” is actually seven – or one third of the Cabinet

by Glass House on June 28, 2007 at 11:31 pm. Reply #

Shaun Woodward and Andy Burnham look like fairly fresh faces (ie they’ve only been ministers since the 2005 GE). Others may be new to the cabinet but have been centrally involved in the Blair government for years either as advisers (Purnell, E Miliband) or as ministers (Denham, Hutton). Jacqui Smith probably qualifies as new as well – I hadn’t realised how new on the scene she is.

The Mark Malloch Brown appointment is an interesting appointment of someone really different – but it is only on the margins of the cabinet, and just illustrates how ‘old’ all the other ‘new’ faces are.

by Jeremy Hargreaves on June 29, 2007 at 9:33 am. Reply #

BBC website is reporting that Cruddas was offered a job but turned it down. They’re not saying what it was.

by TS on June 29, 2007 at 10:34 am. Reply #

Some Lib Dem peers defect.
Baroness Neuberger and Lord Lester will be “advisors” to the Government. According to the BBC website; “…the prime minister’s official spokesman said …they would be expected to take the Labour whip and vote with Labour peers.”

by Climb every stairway on June 29, 2007 at 5:12 pm. Reply #

I’m pretty certain that is a mistake on the BBC’s part. The new ministers will have to take the Labour whip, but not the advisers – that’s part of the reason why, as with Shirley, they wouldn’t become ministers.

by Graeme on June 29, 2007 at 7:52 pm. Reply #

I’d be very surprised if Lord Lester would agree to taking the Labour whip and thus having to vote for their various anti-civil liberties measures which he’s been a consistent opponent of.

by Hywel Morgan on June 29, 2007 at 7:53 pm. Reply #

Lord Lester won’t have to take the Labour whip as he’ll act as an advisor. It’s the new ministerial appts who have to toe the party line.

by Stuart on June 29, 2007 at 7:55 pm. Reply #

The BBC site now says:

But they would be expected to take the Labour whip and vote with Labour peers, he added.

However, a spokesman for the Lib Dems strongly denied this, insisting Baroness Neuberger and Lord Lester would not take the Labour whip.

by Graeme on June 29, 2007 at 8:21 pm. Reply #

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