David Cameron has this morning confirmed details of his last reshuffle before the 2015 general election, with Michael Gove and William Hague among those senior figures to leave their current roles.
Hague last night resigned his position as foreign secretary and will be replaced by current defence secretary Philip Hammond, the Prime Minister confirmed today on his Twitter feed.
Among the other names leaving high office is “political titan” Ken Clarke, who has served as a Conservative MP since 1970, chief whip Sir George Young and energy and climate minister Greg Barker.
Young is being replaced by current education secretary Gove, who Cameron said will have an “enhanced role in campaigning and doing broadcast media interviews”, while Michael Fallon comes in as defence secretary.
Cameron was expected to appoint a number of female Conservative MPs to government roles today – and women's minister Nicky Morgan was confirmed as succeeding Gove and Liz Truss as taking over from Owen Paterson as environment secretary.
Esther McVey will continue as employment minister, but will now attend Cabinet, but some commentators have suggested the headlines about a dramatic rise in female Cabinet members were overstated.
Elsewhere, Stephen Crabb takes over from David Jones as Welsh secretary. Matt Hancock becomes business minister and Greg Clark is science and universities minister – both will attend Cabinet.
Jeremy Wright has been appointed as the new attorney general, replacing the outgoing Dominic Grieve. Baroness Tina Stowell is the new leader of the House of Lords and chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
Hague was the biggest surprise in what has been dubbed Cameron’s “out with the old” reshuffle of senior male figures, which went much further than was expected, as he makes way for fresh faces. The Prime Minister is expected to promote several women this morning, as he seeks to take advantage of talented MPs and cut dead wood.
Hague’s departure shocked political commentators and MPs alike and Downing Street was quick to point out last night that the MP for Richmond, who will step down at the next election, resigned and was not forced out.
Hague said: “I am standing down as foreign secretary after four years to serve as leader of the House of Commons. The role as leader of the House means I will finish in politics as I began – speaking in parliament and campaigning among the voters … after such a long period in politics I want to embark on many other things I have always wanted to do. Renewal in politics is good, and holding office is not an end in itself.”
Hague also announced that he will become special representative to the Prime Minister and take forward the campaign he has spearheaded to end sexual violence in conflict.
Five senior male MPs resigned their posts in addition to Clarke, Hague and Barker, including universities and science minister David Willetts, international development minister Alan Duncan, foreign office minister Hugh Robertson and Northern Ireland minister Andrew Robathan.
Eight other senior figures were sacked or moved including Grieve, Paterson, Jones, policing minister Damian Green, transport minister Stephen Hammond, leader of the House Andrew Lansley, minister for civil society Nick Hurd and solicitor general Oliver Heald.