14 June 2017

As the new government is formed after the 2017 General Election, Gavin Freeguard, Aron Cheung, Lucy Campbell and Alice Lilly bring you the key charts, comment and analysis from across the Institute for Government.

20 June 2017 16:00

Here's our final summary of the reshuffle: The government reshuffle, in eight charts. Thanks for following!

14 June 2017 18:22

So, five days after this reshuffle started – and 336 days after Theresa May started her first reshuffle as Prime Minister – most of the moves have been made. There may still be some positions in the whips’ office to fill, given moves to other departments, and David Mundell is the solitary Scotland Office minister at the moment.

(If you liked that, you’ll love the cat puns in our 18:44 update from yesterday.)

The Guardian also reports that Andrew Percy MP, the DCLG minister responsible for the Northern Powerhouse and HS2 (among other things), has resigned.

But this seems like a good time to wrap up the liveblog for now. Here’s a summary.

The General Election result left the Conservatives without a majority…

Theresa May remains Prime Minister and is in talks with the Democratic Unionist Party, most likely about a confidence and supply deal. The Lib-Lab pact in the late 1970s was the last time we had one of those in Westminster.

…which constrained May’s ministerial moves at Cabinet level.

21 members of the Cabinet remained in the same post. The only movers were:

  • Damian Green MP (to Cabinet Office, and the new First Secretary of State)
  • David Gauke MP (replacing Green at DWP)
  • Liz Truss MP (who stepped down from Justice Secretary to become Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
  • David Lidington MP (former leader of the House of Commons, who replaced Truss)
  • Andrea Leadsom MP (moving from Defra to become Leader – of the House of Commons)
  • A re-entry from Michael Gove MP (replacing Leadsom at Defra)
  • Brandon Lewis MP (now attending Cabinet in his new role as Minister of State for Immigration at the Home Office, having previously been Minister for Policing and the Fire Service).

This reshuffle had much less movement at Cabinet level than after any previous General Election or Prime Ministerial succession since 1997. Continuity could normally be a sign of a strong and stable ministerial team – but this time, might reflect May’s limited room for manoeuvre and concessions to many, not a few, in her Cabinet.

This is what the churn looks like in the Secretary of State posts since 2010, incidentally, projected to 2018 (which… well…).

DExEU attracted a lot of attention, with half of its ministers being replaced…

This attention included in an article in the FT quoting the Institute’s Jill Rutter, and the opening package from BBC Newsnight featuring our very own Joe Owen.

…but the Treasury, Foreign Office, Cabinet Office and Ministry of Justice all had similar, or greater, levels of ministerial churn.

Only the Department for International Trade was left untouched – at every other department, at least one new minister is brand new to their role and will need time to learn it.

The gender balance in Cabinet shifted slightly towards men; across government, slightly towards women…

…but five departments have no female ministers.

These are Justice, Transport, International Trade, Communities and Local Government and the Foreign Office.

The 2010-15 parliamentary intake dominates government, though not Cabinet.

In two departments, they hold all the ministerial positions occupied by Commons ministers.

We’ll be back with a new summary once all government positions have been confirmed.

Thanks for following, and see you at the next reshuffle/government formation, whenever that may be…

14 June 2017 16:43

One thing you may not have realised is that last Thursday’s election result dictates the number of select committee chairmanships parties get, and the balance of each committee.

Here’s the distribution from the last three parliaments…

…and which committees they ended up with.


These are the main departmental committees and their chairs over that period:

We’ll hopefully know the new allocations soon.

In the meantime:

14 June 2017 15:52

We’ve looked at gender, we’ve looked at views on the EU referendum – what about the parliamentary intakes that ministers belong to?

As we saw when we touched on this previously, Gauke’s elevation and Gove’s return mean an increase in Cabinet representation for those most recently elected in the 2005-10 parliament. (It’s worth noting David Davis is also in that category – although first elected in 1987, he fought and won a by-election in his own seat in 2008. And that 2015-17 entrant is Boris Johnson, who had previously been an MP 2001-08.) Those elected before 2001 make up a greater proportion of the Cabinet than they do the rest of government, where the 2010-15 intake dominates.

Indeed, there are two departments – DCLG and DCMS – where all the ministers drawn from the House of Commons entered parliament at the 2010 General Election or since.

14 June 2017 14:53

The latest batch of announcements could, largely, be it for this reshuffle. Most gaps appear to have been filled, although various promoted whips have not been replaced and there are currently more pandas in Scotland than there are ministers in the Scotland Office (it’s just Scottish Secretary David Mundell at the moment).

So here are some charts on the composition of the government. This is what the gender balance of government looks like:

A slight shift in favour of men in the Cabinet, a slight shift in favour of women across the whole of government.

It’s much more interesting on a departmental level: five departments – Justice, Transport, International Trade, Communities and Local Government and the Foreign Office – have no female ministers. The FCO also has a smaller percentage of women in its senior civil service than any other department.

As for views on Brexit, pre-referendum:

There’s been a very slight increase in the percentage of Cabinet ministers and ministers across the whole of government who backed Leave before the Brexit referendum:

On a departmental level, DExEU is one of three departments where pre-referendum Leavers make up half or more of ministers – the others are Transport and Defra, the department likely to face the heaviest workload due to Brexit.

14 June 2017 13:50

While we await any further ministerial appointments, have this fantastic reshuffle anecdote from Desmond Swayne, formerly Parliamentary Private Secretary to David Cameron and Minister of State for International Development from 2014 to 2016, courtesy of Ministers Reflect:

Nicola Hughes, IfG: I just want to touch on a couple of big things that happened politically during this time. So obviously you had election slap bang in the middle of you being a minister, did that change the way you approached the job? Did it change how the department felt before and after?

Desmond Swayne: Having spoken to my private office and other officials, I think they find elections very destabilising and disturbing, the same way that they find reshuffles discombobulating. But I didn’t find any difficulty with the election. They had access to me, I made sure I could come in – actually it was quite nice to have a break from electioneering. It’s all very well if you’re one of the media leads for your political party and you go on a visit to a particular constituency and you meet the big cheeses and you make a few statements. But for most of us, electioneering is knocking on doors all day, irrespective of little signs that say ‘no callers, no canvassers, no purveyors of religious wisdom of any kind!’ So every now and again it was quite nice to have a break and come into the Department and do some work.

Nicola Hughes, IfG: And did you know you would be going back into the same job?

Desmond Swayne: I was working on that presumption, yes. There was a little hiccup, in that on the Monday morning when the reshuffle was in full swing after the 2015 election, I wandered into the Department knowing that I was going back there and my pass wouldn’t work in the door, I had to get someone to let me in. I went into my office and they had put everything into a cardboard box on the desk! I turned round and said, ‘Do you know something that I don’t?!’ They all laughed and made light of it and said ‘No, minister this is just what we do when there’s a reshuffle.’ And in jest, in front of them, tweeted: ‘No phone call, card doesn’t work in the door, all my stuff in boxes. Is this the end?’ And this tweet went viral! It was all over the place. So I had to spend the rest of the day in hiding from colleagues who wanted to come and condole with me. It was even quoted in The New York Times as the saddest tweet ever! The Permanent Secretary summoned the Private Secretary and told her she hadn’t done anything wrong, poor girl! She insisted, ‘No, no, I am sure he was joking…’ and she was right.

14 June 2017 12:27

We’ve already argued the importance of keeping ministers in jobs long enough to see policies through – see our 13 June, 09:37 and 10:07 updates – but here are some more reflections on that from former ministers.

Tessa Jowell rejected a promotion to see one flagship Labour policy through:

We were elected in 1997, I became Public Health Minister and was beginning to set up Sure Start and to set up a really ambitious set of policies for the prevention of avoidable death from cancer and heart disease. And I was asked, in the run up to the 1998 reshuffle, if I would go into the Cabinet and I look back on it and think ‘How on earth did I dare say “No”?’ I said ‘No’ because I don’t feel ready, because the polices that I’m just putting in place here are policies which are very new, they’re very fragile and they need consistency; they need me to get them to a point where they’re firmly and clearly established and – again, this is retrofitted wisdom – it was one of the wisest things I’ve ever done. I think that there’s a very interesting distinction between ministers whose policies have longevity and those who are remembered as Cabinet ministers who did lots of jobs, but you can’t remember what they did in any job.

It's a lesson she applied to the Olympics, too:

It is so rare in public life to be able to see through policies from start to finish, but what made the Olympics the success it was, was the consistency, continuity and trust of the relationships between the key players and that would have been destabilised if I’d gone off to another job.

Here’s Ken Clarke:

The next stage, after two years, you are really on top of it. I mean, you really are comfortable, you are doing things. But you realise that the decisions you took after six months were wrong and you have changed your mind. After two years, you are sitting in control now, behind your desk, where you are really going to do this, this, and this. And then the phone rings and the prime minister is having a reshuffle and you move on to the next department and you are back at the beginning, there you are, panicking again.

And there’s this from Francis Maude:

A lot of the work took us a long time to work out, because it was so counterintuitive, which is why staying there for five years, brutally demanding and wearing though it was, was absolutely essential. Continuity is absolutely essential. So while it has probably taken years off my life, resisting the blandishments and manoeuvring to get me moved to a different job that took place at every reshuffle between, I am very glad I stayed there to see things through.

14 June 2017 11:50


This is the most recent batch of junior ministerial appointments (all Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State):

  • Stephen Barclay MP is the new Economic Secretary to the Treasury. He was previously a whip, and replaces Simon Kirby, who lost his seat in the General Election.
  • Caroline Nokes MP moves to the Cabinet Office from DWP. We were speculating earlier whether there’d be any new ministers in the Cabinet Office, given Damian Green’s likely workload and the reduction in number of ministers last time round. Her responsibilities are currently unclear.
  • Tobias Ellwood MP moves from the Foreign Office (where there was a lot of reshuffle action yesterday) to the Ministry of Defence.
  • Both Steve Brine MP and Jackie Doyle-Price MP move from the whips’ office to the Department of Health.
  • Richard Harrington MP moves from being Minister for Pensions (at DWP) to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
  • Chloe Smith MP moves back into government (she was a Treasury, then Cabinet Office minister 2011-13) at the Northern Ireland Office.
  • There’s space for John Glen MP at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (he was Philip Hammond’s PPS)
  • Guy Opperman MP joins DWP, having previously been a whip
  • Lord Callanan – a former Member of the European Parliament – becomes a minister at the Department for Transport.
  • Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth becomes a joint minister between the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Northern Ireland Office. He was previously split between DCLG and the Wales Office.

This is when ministers came into their posts:

Only the Department for International Trade has been untouched by the reshuffle (so far). Three-quarters of ministers in the Treasury – Chief Secretary Truss, Financial Secretary Stride, Economic Secretary Barclay – are new to their roles. The FCO has also had more than half its ministers change, while half of ministers at the Cabinet Office and Ministry of Justice are new to their roles, as well as at DExEU:

14 June 2017 09:28

Morning everyone.

It looks like the reshuffle continued yesterday evening - or rather, reappointments continued yesterday evening - and has made it down to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State level. Here are the ones we've spotted on Twitter - let us know if we've missed any!

Robert Buckland MP remains Solicitor General:

Chris Skidmore MP remains Minister for the Constitution: 

At present, he, Damian Green and Patrick McLoughlin are the only Cabinet Office ministers - May halved the number of ministers there in her first government formation, but Green is likely to have a lot of other things on his ministerial plate as First Secretary of State and there have been calls for more ministerial appointments (including ours for a digital minister - there's a good discussion on that on diginomica).

Mark Garnier MP remains at the Department for International Trade:

Dr Phillip Lee MP stays at Justice, as Minister for Youth Justice, Victims, Female Offenders and Offender Health:

And Tracey Crouch MP remains Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage - and has a good excuse for missing some of last night's football:

Last but not least, Robin Walker MP remains Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union:

As we thought, that means that - with only a few days to go before Brexit negotiations are due to start - half of the ministers in the department are brand new to their roles:

Jill Rutter is quoted in the FT's article on the changes at DExEU, while Joe Owen appears in BBC Newsnight's opening package from last night.

13 June 2017 19:23

Given the Prime Minister’s visit to President Macron in Paris this evening, that may well be it for the day – we will of course be back with any further ministerial moves tomorrow.

Here’s where the reshuffle has got to so far.

Over the weekend, the Prime Minister finalised her Cabinet…

…with seven Cabinet ministers moving into new posts.

That’s a lower percentage of turnover than any Prime Minister after an election or takeover since 1997, reflecting May’s limited room for manoeuvre given the election result.

A number of departments welcomed new junior ministers yesterday and today, with the Treasury and Foreign Office having the greatest percentage of new ministers…

..though the Department for Exiting the European Union has seen 50% turnover.

The Financial Times reports that David Jones was sacked by the Prime Minister without Brexit Secretary David Davis having been consulted, and Lord Bridges resigned ‘on policy grounds, convinced Brexit couldn’t work’ according to a Whitehall figure. The new DExEU ministers are Steve Baker MP, a key figure in the campaign to leave the European Union during the referendum, and Baroness Anelay, the first female minister in either DExEU or DIT.

These were the roles unfilled before the start of the reshuffle on Sunday:

Given that a number of them have not yet been filled – there is no Economic Secretary to the Treasury, no Minister for Civil Society at DCMS, and the Secretaries of State are currently the only ministers in the Scotland and Northern Ireland Offices – we can expect more moves over the next few days.

We’ll back when that happens – thanks for reading!

13 June 2017 18:44

One dog that hasn’t barked this reshuffle is machinery of government (MoG) changes – making, breaking, merging and abolishing Whitehall departments, which May did when she first became Prime Minister.

Some mog changes that nobody wants to see are the departures of any of Whitehall’s cats: there are now five across Number Ten and government departments:

Larry has served two Prime Ministers, Gladstone two Chancellors of the Exchequer, Palmerston two foreign secretaries, and Evie and Ossie two Ministers for the Cabinet Office.

Larry at Number Ten follows in a fine tradition of Chief Mousers following a feline whip going back to 1924:

It’s unclear what ministerial rank Larry holds – we assume he’s a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (PUSS) – or what his purrformance objectives are.

The National Archives has more on the nation’s favourite bureaucats.

13 June 2017 18:18

There are different ministerial ranks, from Secretaries of State (in charge of departments) at the top, then Ministers of State, then the most junior, Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State.

George Young told us what difference there is between those ranks in his Ministers Reflect interview:

I think that actually the big jump for me was going from PUSS [Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State] to Minister of State under Heseltine, partly because there was a lot delegation to ministers of state. that was quite a big jump from doing the adjournment debates, getting the bills through, signing the letters to actually driving policy; that was quite a bit step, perhaps almost a bigger step than back-bencher to PUSS… Minister of State to Secretary of State, again a big jump. Suddenly, you know, you have got the budget and the arguments with the Treasury, the PES [Public Expenditure Survey] round – very big in the Major years the annual PES round – plus the party conference speech.

Looking at gender balance by rank gives us some interesting results.

The rank with the biggest gender imbalance is Minister of State, which (in theory) would be the pipeline to the highest office. We see similar pipeline issues at the top of the civil service:

13 June 2017 17:56

We noted earlier how Alok Sharma is the new Minister of State responsible for housing. By our count, he's the 36th minister to be in that position since 1951.

Of the 35 previous ones, 21 did not make it beyond two years in post. We looked at the costs of such high churn in particular policy areas in our recent report, All Change.

And you can read Ministers Reflect interviews with some of the previous occupants:

13 June 2017 17:17

Steve Baker's apparent appointment as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at DExEU means that half of the ministers in the department are new to the job at this reshuffle.

Still behind a couple of other departments in the turnover stakes, though:

13 June 2017 16:59

This is what the gender balance looks like by department, following that latest batch of appointments:

No female ministers in DCLG, FCO, DIT, DfT, MoJ, CO or DH.

13 June 2017 16:09

The government has announced the appointment of a number of new Ministers of State:

  • Lord Ahmad moves to the Foreign Office, having previously been Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport (Minister for Aviation) at DfT
  • Mark Field MP enters government, also at the Foreign Office
  • Alistair Burt MP re-enters government, as a joint minister between the FCO and DfID (read his Ministers Reflect interview here)
  • Rory Stewart MP, previously Minister of State for International Development at DfID, is now a joint minister with FCO (that's a lot of Foreign Office appointments this afternoon)
  • Alok Sharma MP moves from the FCO, where he was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Asia and the Pacific, to the Department for Communities and Local Government
  • Mark Lancaster MP has been promoted from Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence Veterans, Reserves and Personnel at the Ministry of Defence to Minister of State in the department.

Julian Smith is promoted within the whips' office to become deputy chief whip. He replaces Anne Milton MP, who moved to DfE last night.

All of those new appointments are men...

In addition to Jo Johnson, Matt Hancock and Ben Wallace, the following are now confirmed as remaining in their Minister of State posts:

  • Nick Gibb MP (DfE)
  • George Eustice MP (Defra)
  • Philip Dunne MP (DH)
  • Sir Alan Duncan MP (FCO)
  • Baroness Williams of Trafford (DCMS)
  • Greg Hands MP (DIT), who also succeeds Gavin Barwell as Minister for London
  • Lord Price (also DIT)
  • John Hayes MP (DIT)
  • Lord Bates (DfID)
  • Damian Hinds MP and Penny Mordaunt MP (DWP)
  • Earl Howe (MoD), who is also Deputy Leader of the House of Lords.

This is what that all does for departmental churn (though worth noting some, such as Burt and Stewart, have some experience in similar roles):

13 June 2017 15:40

Are you a new minister looking for some useful advice?

Or would you like to hear from some people who have been?

The job of a government minister is a strange one. There is no job description, no application, no interview and no tuition: you are picked from among your peers, by the Prime Minister, to be a chief decision maker and a joint leader of a large and complex organisation that you may know absolutely nothing about. Your new role starts the moment you leave Number 10, perhaps with some instruction from the Prime Minister about what he or she would like you to do, perhaps not. It is a great privilege and most likely the highlight of your political career. In your new office, departmental staff you don’t know, none of whom you can – formally – hire or fire, will greet you and wait to hear your plan. You will be part of a ministerial team that you haven’t been able to choose and that may include political rivals.

Your new job is 24/7 as you juggle a constant stream of government business along with your role as a parliamentarian, all under the gaze of the media and the public. You know that your job here is an incredible opportunity but it’s also temporary, however well you perform. One day the Prime Minister decides that it is time for a reshuffle and you leave the department just as suddenly as you entered it – hopefully having averted disasters and achieved your policy goals.

Back in March, the Institute published How to be an Effective Minister, which you can read here. It starts with some quotes which bring home the realities, enormities, and trivialities of the job:

Steve Webb: …sometimes I would write ‘yes’ on a bit of paper and things would happen, which was a bit of a revelation.

Nicky Morgan: You are ‘it’. And in a meeting when there’s a tough issue or anything else, all heads will swivel to you. You’ve got to be the one to deliver the bad news or to ask the tough question or to point out that actually the advice that’s been given is just not good enough.

Jack Straw: The thing that I believe that no-one can know until they are faced with it is whether they can make decisions. And not just one decision, with the luxury of a day to think about it, but a box full of decisions and another box full.

Ministers are not provided with the type of training or induction that is the norm for executive positions in large businesses and charities. As Jacqui Smith recalls:

When I became Home Secretary, I’d never run a major organisation. I hope I did a good job, but if I did it was more by luck than by any kind of development of those skills.

When ministers do participate in some form of support or preparation, they find it useful; Lynne Featherstone described going to an Institute for Government induction as

probably the most valuable thing that happened to me.

That’s one of the reasons we’ve published our full Ministers Reflect archive, which you can read here for more advice (and anecdotes).

Lord Stephen Green: And how do you know if you ever succeeded? I think is a good question. The answer is you don’t and it’s a long haul.

13 June 2017 15:13

A few reports are suggesting Alistair Burt will be returning to government again - he held ministerial posts in the Department of Social Security from 1992-1997, was Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the FCO (2010-13) and Minister of State at Health in 2015 - at the Department for International Development and FCO.

This was his advice for potential new ministers in his Ministers Reflect interview with us:

I think we need still better preparation. I think all colleagues who are thinking about the possibility of being ministers – and it is not for everybody, there are colleagues who won’t want to do it – but if you’re thinking about it, take seriously the opportunities to listen to other people, study case studies and things like that...

So the more preparation you could do in advance the better. Now I know some people won’t want to do it because it will be tempting fate. Others won’t want to do it because it marks you out as having high ambition – well so you should! There will be some people who do it and it won’t be for them. But I think preparation for a ministerial role, bearing in mind the chances of being a minister are pretty good for a colleague who is going to do maybe more than two spells in Parliament, is the key thing.

13 June 2017 14:42

There’s been a bit of speculation about Cabinet Committees today. So what are Cabinet Committees and why do they matter?

I’m glad you asked.

They are ‘groups of ministers that can take collective decisions that are binding across government’, where a lot of government business gets done. In his book, Nick Clegg writes about the Home Affairs Committee:

The committee was important not just because it met regularly, at least at the outset, but also because for all significant domestic-policy decisions that were made, Cabinet Ministers had to ‘write round’ – circulating memos that detailed their proposals, and responding to those put forward by others – a process for which I was the adjudicating chair… There were challenging, collegiate debates between ministers on both sides of the coalition on everything... debates that were not possible in the more perfunctory format of the weekly meetings of the Cabinet. Cameron would sometimes joke, rather archly, ‘I hear you’re having all the interesting discussions in the Home Affairs Committee…'

In his Ministers Reflect interview with us, David Willetts noted the importance of getting onto that Home Affairs Committee and how he ‘nearly missed it by a wrong assessment of how the cabinet structure would play out’.

This is what Cabinet Committee membership looked like in January 2017:

You’ll note there’s a committee on Brexit and a sub-committee on Brexit. In March, the government added two further sub-committees on Internal Trade and Negotiations. The key ‘War Cabinet’ is the Negotiations sub-committee, which remains unaffected by ministerial changes:

Before losing his seat, Ben Gummer sat on more Cabinet Committees than any other minister apart from Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and Sajid Javid. We won’t know for a few weeks who will replace Gummer – Jill Rutter suggests new First Secretary of State Damian Green is likely to be a key figure – or whether there’ll be any other changes. They can be a useful signal of a government’s priorities – which makes it surprising that the committee dealing with health and social care was abolished last time round.

Hopefully we won’t have to lodge a Freedom of Information request this time, as we did last time, to find out the membership of these key government bodies.

13 June 2017 14:10

Baroness Neville-Rolfe has announced she is leaving the government via Twitter:

She was Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (and previously a minister at BEIS and DCMS).

This is what that does to the gender balance of the Treasury:

Incidentally, if you're interested in what gender looks like across the civil service, you can see our post on the latest numbers here

13 June 2017 13:47

And I was informed by, fortunately because I’d been around for a while by then, I knew people at various levels in the Foreign Office and I remember one of the women, a fairly senior woman, saying to me ‘You do realise that there are people in the Foreign Office who don’t think a woman should be Foreign Secretary?’ Which at that stage in the day would never have occurred to me. But there you go.

Margaret Beckett, there, reflecting on her appointment as Foreign Secretary. The UK still hasn’t had a female Chancellor. And you can still fit all the women ever to attend Cabinet in the UK on one reasonably-sized chart:

Nicola Hughes looks in more depth at female ministers and the challenges they still face here.

That said, the 2017 General Election resulted in more than 200 women MPs being elected for the first time…

…and an increase in the percentage of female MPs from 29% to 32%.

As we’ve already seen, the percentage of women across government has increased slightly (a function of men leaving rather than women joining) and there has been a fall in the percentage of women with full Cabinet status.

But what does gender balance look like by department?

Six departments – Cabinet Office, DCLG, Health, Justice, Transport and Trade – currently have no female ministers.

This is how things have changed since before the reshuffle. In some cases (i.e. Health), this is a change owing to ministers losing their seats (Nicola Blackwood). In others, women have been shuffled out and no others yet brought in (e.g. Truss at Justice). DExEU now has a woman minister, Baroness Anelay, for the first time. Four departments - CO, DCLG, DfT and DH - are without any female ministers both before and after the reshuffle (so far).

13 June 2017 12:11

A quick post on what the moves so far have done to the composition of government…

In terms of gender, the gender balance has shifted at full Cabinet level, with both Liz Truss and Andrea Leadsom reduced to ‘attending’ status having previously been full members. There’s a currently a greater percentage of women across government as a whole than there was before – though this owes more to the departure of a number of men who’ve not yet been replaced than an influx of women (yet).

Which side did ministers back in the referendum? There’s only been a very slight shift so far, with Michael Gove’s return to the Cabinet tilting the balance slightly more in favour of leave at the highest level.

David Gauke’s elevation to full Cabinet status, and Gove’s return, means an increase in Cabinet representation for those most recently elected in the 2005-10 parliament. (It’s worth noting David Davis is also in that category – although first elected in 1987, he fought and won a by-election in his own seat in 2008.) It’s striking that those elected before 2001 make up a greater proportion of the Cabinet than they do the rest of government.

13 June 2017 11:36

On the subject of junior ministers and reshuffles... here's former Labour minister, Jim Knight, from our Ministers Reflect series of interviews:

I mean reshuffles and the inability of prime ministers, none of whom had been junior ministers, so they didn’t understand what being a junior minister was, I don’t think, and reshuffles are all generally a cock-up. And any kind of sense of managing the talent properly and really aligning people and their skills and strengths to where they’d be best deployed as opposed to sort of trying to promote and deal with the patronage and some of the sort of less edifying sides of politics. That’s a big frustration.

13 June 2017 10:38

The ministerial turnover at DExEU, the Department for Exiting the European Union, is attracting some attention this morning. This is what it looks like, charted:

Lord Bridges’ resignation seems particularly significant – he would have been responsible for piloting any Brexit legislation through the Lords (though new DExEU minister, Baroness Anelay, knows the chamber well – she was chief whip under David Cameron).

You can find all the Institute’s work on Brexit on our Brex-site (see what we did there?).

13 June 2017 10:07

This chart shows when the ministers currently in the government were appointed to their present job:

Half of the ministers in the Treasury – Chief Secretary, Liz Truss, and Financial Secretary, Mel Stride – are new to their jobs. The same is true at MoJ, where the new ministers include David Lidington, the new Secretary of State. (Our chart doesn’t include the MoJ’s Lords spokesperson, Lord Elie - it's not a ministerial role as such.)

Ministerial continuity – keeping together a strong and stable ministerial team, if you will – is important. Constantly shuffling ministers between posts means they may not be in their department long enough to get things done.

Here’s John Penrose, former minister at DCMS and in the Cabinet Office:

I think that Cameron was better than most prime ministers in that he didn’t reshuffle people terribly often. So people had on average, longer in post. However, I think he was still the one eyed man in the land of the blind. I think he managed to get the average length of time in a particular position up to two years or maybe two and half. That’s still too short. From a ministerial point of view, if you’re going to carry something through, if you’re quick and you’re effective you may make decisions in the first three months or maybe in the first six if it’s a really complicated problem. If you’re not quick and not decisive, then it will take you twice as long. And then it will take, if it’s a big project at least a year and possibly three or four years to complete. If you get reshuffled, the chances for a change of direction, which will be not necessarily helpful, are very high. There are plenty of stakeholders both within the government and outside it, in whose interest it is not to present a new minister with the thing that they don’t want to carry on. So there’s always a danger difficult projects won’t get picked up by your successor unless they’ve got the wit to come and ask you what it was that you think needs to be done. That creates changes of direction, sometimes without even the incoming minister realising it or understanding all the reasons why you were doing what you were doing after you’ve been in place for two years. So ministerially, I’m afraid politicians are their own worst enemies on this stuff.

Former Labour minister, Ben Bradshaw, also argues that junior ministers need time in post to do their jobs – though it may be possible for them to be there too long:

I think one of Tony’s mistakes was to move people around too often and too much and I have to say, one of Cameron’s pluses was keeping good people in portfolios, particularly at secretary of state level. I can completely understand the rationale for moving ministers, junior ministers, around to broaden their experience and I certainly am not complaining about the fact that I did a year at the Foreign Office, a year at the Privy Council, because that gave me invaluable experience. Four years as a junior minister at Defra felt a little bit too long at the time.

I think for junior ministers four years is probably enough while anything less than two years is not long enough because it’s only really after two years, particularly as a junior minister, that you know enough to be fully effective and to challenge the civil servants and ask the questions that need to be asked. Obviously you can ask the right basic questions from day one, but I think you’re at your most effective when you’re at least a year and a half or two years into a job. And I was always slightly suspicious about the tendency to move junior ministers around too regularly and after a short time in the job, because it made us easier to manage and was therefore convenient for the machine. Maybe that’s a bit too conspiratorial about the machine, but I certainly think as a rule, there’s an argument for keeping secretaries of state in jobs for a good period… And there’s also an argument for moving people on after a while, because there’s always a danger that you end up going native and seeing the whole world through the prism of the Home Office or whatever and you don’t see the bigger picture. I always had a marginal seat, which made me more political and less administrative as a minister. I think that helped inure me to departmental capture.

13 June 2017 09:37

Morning everyone. Overnight, with all the Cabinet posts confirmed, the reshuffle has moved onto the more junior ministerial ranks.

Junior ministers may not have as high a profile as Secretaries of State, but they matter, often being responsible for doing a lot of the heavy lifting on policy and in parliament.

In an interview with the Institute’s Ministers Reflect project, former DCLG minister Bob Neill said:

It’s not glamourous and I think most junior ministers, in particular, do an awful lot of the routine stuff, the nuts and bolts. I spent probably a reasonable amount of time in the department just by the nature of it, but it’s the junior ministers that get the bulk of the correspondence, the adjournment debates, all that sort of stuff.

Former Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, told us:

So that helps enormously, if you’ve got junior ministers who also know their brief. David Laws was there and Edward Timpson [who lost his seat last Thursday] who both knew their briefs incredibly well, they were great. Although that’s good and it’s bad as it means you wonder ‘Do they know more than you?’, and sometimes they are taking decisions where you’re thinking ‘Well I probably should be more aware of what’s going on’. Actually we had a good ministerial team so we trusted each other, so that wasn’t really an issue.

We’ve some advice on being a junior minister (with some more anecdotes) here.

As for the moves last night:

  • Nick Hurd MP moves to the Home Office, having previously been Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
  • Dominic Raab MP re-enters government as Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). He had been Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Human Rights at MoJ, before May removed him in her first government formation last July.
  • Anne Milton MP moves from the Whips’ Office (where she’d been in some form since 2012) to become Minister of State at the Department for Education (DfE).
  • Robert Goodwill MP has also been appointed a Minister of State at DfE. He was previously Minister of State for Immigration, now held by Cabinet-attending Brandon Lewis.
  • Baroness Anelay moves from the Foreign Office to become Minister of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU). She was chief whip in the Lords under David Cameron.
  • Claire Perry MP re-enters government as Minister of State at BEIS. She lost her previous government job, as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, in May’s government formation.
  • Mel Stride MP moves from the whips’ office to become Financial Secretary to the Treasury, replacing Jane Ellison who lost her seat last Thursday.

Ministers leaving government include:

  • David Jones MP, formerly at DExEU – his advice to new ministers (in his interview with us after leaving the Wales Office in 2014) includes ‘take time to learn your trade’ and ‘get to know your senior officials… Do regard them as the most important resource that you’ve got’
  • Lord Bridges, also from DExEU – who has unexpectedly resigned
  • Sir Oliver Heald MP, who had been Minister of State for Courts and Justice at MoJ. He had previously served in government under Major and Cameron – and told us this about junior ministers: ‘If you’re a junior minister unless you’re actually the Secretary of State, you’re not going to change everything. So you want to find a few things you can change and make sure that you really make a difference’
  • Robert Halfon MP, who had been Minister of State at DfE
  • Mike Penning MP, who had been a Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Although these have not been announced by Number 10, there are also some ministers we know are staying in post.

Jo Johnson MP:

Matt Hancock MP:

Ben Wallace MP:

12 June 2017 16:03

A chart!

This shows the percentage of Cabinet ministers new to their posts after elections and new Prime Ministers taking over. Both Gordon Brown and Theresa May took the opportunity to replace or move more than three quarters of their Cabinets when first taking over from Tony Blair and David Cameron respectively, but it's the reshuffle this weekend which stands out as having much lower churn than usual. 

While continuity might normally be a sign of a strong and stable Cabinet, this time round it signals the Prime Minister's precarious situation and limited room for manouevre.

Here's Jill Rutter's take on what moves there have been.

12 June 2017 10:35

Good morning, and welcome to the Institute for Government government formation live-blog!

Or rather, to start with, post-live blog. Because if you had the temerity to have a life over the weekend, you may have missed Theresa May reshuffling her Cabinet.

You can read the full thread starting here…

But here are some highlights.

Following ministers losing seats at the General Election, and Lord Dunlop’s resignation on Saturday, Theresa May had 12 ministerial posts to fill.

Only one of these was in the Cabinet – Minister for the Cabinet Office, after Ben Gummer lost his seat.

May confirmed five Secretaries of State in post on Friday night…

…and by the end of Sunday, 21 members of the Cabinet remained in the same position.

This may be partly due to the Prime Minister’s more limited room for manoeuvre given the election result, which left the Conservatives without a majority – we have seven charts on that result here.

Those moving post included Damian Green, the new First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office…

First Secretary of State is not dissimilar to Deputy Prime Minister – a ‘second among equals’ in the Cabinet behind the Prime Minister. We’ve previously interviewed Damian Green about being a minister here.

…David Gauke replaces Green as the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions…

After Iain Duncan Smith holding the role for nearly six years, Gauke is the third Secretary of State at DWP in just over a year. What will that mean for projects like Universal Credit, which Nick Timmins wrote about here?

…and Michael Gove is the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Defra is likely to be one of the departments most affected by Brexit.

Other changes were:

  • Liz Truss moving from Justice to become Chief Secretary to the Treasury
  • David Lidington replacing Truss as Justice Secretary
  • Andrea Leadsom replacing Lidington as Leader of the House
  • Brandon Lewis attending Cabinet as Minister of State for Immigration.

The gender balance of the Cabinet has shifted slightly.

Although there’s not been much change overall, the gender balance has shifted at full Cabinet level, with both Liz Truss and Andrea Leadsom reduced to ‘attending’ status.

We'll be back when the reshuffle continues – there are, after all, still some junior roles to fill.




How can the Queen agree to the Tories ruling with a minority government without even an unofficial agreement of support from the DUP (it seems the announcement that Downing Street hadn’t made any sort of deal came out on Saturday, after Theresa the Appeaser went to see the Queen)?

Surely she should have asked Labour if they were able to form a majority at that point?