» Friday, May 5, 2006


The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) told journalists that John Prescott remained the Deputy Prime Minister, and as he had discussed with the Prime Minister twelve months ago, he would no longer hold responsibility for a department, but the Prime Minister had asked Mr. Prescott to chair a series of major Cabinet committees, as well as maintain his international work, especially with regards to China and Eastern Europe. The PMOS said that Gordon Brown remained as Chancellor, and Margaret Beckett would become the first female Foreign Secretary. David Miliband would move to DEFRA, Douglas Alexander would become Secretary of State for Transport, as well as for Scotland. Des Browne would become Secretary of State for Defence, and Jack Straw would become Leader of the House of Commons, as well as taking responsibility for issues such as the reform of the House of Lords and party funding, and Mr. Straw would chair the Cabinet Constitutional Affairs Committee. The PMOS said that this recognised both the senior role that this post had now become, and also that Mr. Straw was both very experienced and the quintessential House of Commons man.

Patricia Hewitt remained the Secretary of State for Health, and Tessa Jowell remained the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, focusing on the Olympics in her department. Jacqui Smith would become the Chief Whip, and Dr. John Reid would move to the Home Office as Home Secretary, and the PMOS pointed journalists to Charles Clarke’s resignation from the Government which the Prime Minister had accepted with regret.

Peter Hain remained the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, which gave continuity through the November 24 deadline. Hazel Blears would become the Minister Without Portfolio and party Chair, Val Amos remained as Leader of the House of Lords, and Lord Falconer remained as Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs. The PMOS said that Hilary Benn remained as Secretary of State for DFID, and Alastair Darling would move to DTI. Alan Johnson would become Secretary of State for Education, John Hutton remained in the DWP, and Hilary Armstrong would take on a new role as Social Exclusion Secretary of State within the Cabinet Office, which focused particularly on problem families, children in care, and the impact of the hardcore excluded people in society. The new Minister would chair cross-departmental Cabinet committees to drive progress and co-operation on exclusion matters across Whitehall, and she would also have the title of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancashire.

The PMOS confirmed that she was a full Cabinet member. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury was Stephen Timms, which recognised his abilities. Ruth Kelly would move to be the Secretary of State for the Community and Local Government, which was the new title for what used to be the ODPM’s department. That was an important role, especially in dealing with extremism for example, as well as harnessing local government in that effort. Ms. Kelly would also become the Minister for Women. The Chief Whip in the House of Lords would remain as Lord Grocott, and Lord Goldsmith would remain as the Attorney General. Geoff Hoon would become the Minister of State for Europe in the Foreign Office, and like his predecessor Douglas Alexander, would attend Cabinet. The PMOS said that Ian McCartney would take the joint Minister of State role between the FCO and the DTI on trade, and would also attend Cabinet.

Briefing took place at 17:00 | Search for related news

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