Rishi Sunak has promoted trade minister Greg Hands to be the new party chairman to replace Nadhim Zahawi who was forced to resign over his tax affairs. The Hammersmith and Fulham MP is seen as a safe pair of hands by colleagues and has long experience of organizing election campaigns in London.
With the clock ticking for an election next year Mr Hands will have the task of getting the Tory campaign machine together to be fighting fit as the party tries to overcome a 21 point lead for Labor in the polls.
The reshuffle was supposed to have been wrapped up by 1030am this morning, but furious push back from some ministers and Tory MPs has reportedly delayed it.
Mr Sunak has had to switch his Cabinet meeting to 3pm this afternoon.
The reshuffles see Grant Shapps moved to Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero while Michelle Donelan switches from Culture Secretary to Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, a new department.
With the Department for International Trade being abolished, Kemi Badenoch MP becomes Secretary of State for Business and Trade.
She remains as President of the Board of Trade, and Minister for Women and Equalities.
Lucy Frazer is the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport, promoted from the planning minister.
Mr Sunak has also set his priorities with the creation of for new departments including Energy, Security and Net Zero.
He also wants to have a Digital, Science, Information and Tech Department.
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The Prime Minister is also under pressure from Northern Conservative MPs to keep his promise to create a Minister for the North made during the summer leadership campaign against Liz Truss.
In a letter to Mr Sunak, the executive board of the Northern Research Group chaired by Carlisle MP John Stevenson and including former party chairman Sir Jake Berry, Mr Sunak was reminded that the leveling up process has not yet finished.
They said: “This summer you signed a pledge to us that you would deliver a Minister for the North at Cabinet level. We are writing today to make sure you come good on that promise.”
One person expected to survive is Justice Secretary Dominic Raab who has been beset with a number of bullying allegations.
With Mr Raab still under investigation, the Prime Minister has postponed a decision on his future.
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