Theresa May hails fresh talent, appoints minister for loneliness


LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May has said her reshuffle makes the government look “more like the country it serves” with a “new generation” of ministers brought in. The PM has appointed several new faces to her ministerial team.

LONDON: Group picture of new office bearers of Conservative Party after reshuffling stand outside 10-Downing Street on Tuesday.

The mostly junior ministerial appointments come after cabinet-level changes. These triggered the resignation of education secretary Justine Greening and were branded a “lacklustre PR exercise” by Labour. Of Tuesday’s appointments, six men and eight women were new additions to government, including five from ethnic minorities and 11 who were elected in 2015. Six of the women – all elected in 2015 – have been appointed as junior whips, who will be involved with enforcing party discipline. Downing Street said that following the reshuffle there were more women attending cabinet, more female ministers and more members of the government from ethnic minorities. The number of women who are full cabinet members has remained the same as before at six. Among the other ministerial moves announced on last Tuesday:
• Mr Johnson was replaced by Sam Gyimah as universities minister
• Mark Garnier lost his job as trade minister – a source said his departure was not related to recent allegations of improper conduct
• John Hayes (transport), Philip Dunne (health) and Robert Goodwill (education) also left their posts
• Alok Sharma moved from housing to employment
• Dominic Raab replaced Mr Sharma as housing minister
• Rory Stewart replaced Mr Raab as justice minister
• Margot James, Harriet Baldwin and Caroline Dinenage become ministers of state at Culture, the Foreign Office and Health respectively
• John Glen and Robert Jenrick join the Treasury
The most high-profile cabinet ministers all kept their jobs in the reshuffle, in which Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is believed to have persuaded the PM to keep him in post with a beefed-up role rather than move him to another department.
Minister to tackle loneliness
Theresa May has appointed one of her ministers to lead on issues connected to loneliness, implementing one of the main recommendations of a report into the subject by the Jo Cox Commission. Tracey Crouch, the minister for sport and civil society, will head a government-wide group with responsibility for policies connected to loneliness, Downing Street said. In parallel, the government said it would develop a wider strategy on the issue, gather more evidence and statistics, and provide funding for community groups to start activities which connect people. The move follows a cross-party report by the commission set up in honour of Cox, the Labour MP murdered by a rightwing extremist in 2016, who had campaigned about loneliness.