Brandon Lewis made Tory chairman in reshuffle


Brandon Lewis.


Brandon Lewis replaces Sir Patrick McLoughlin as Conservative Party chairman

Brandon Lewis has been made the new chairman of the Conservative Party in Theresa May’s reshuffle.

Mr Lewis, the immigration minister, replaces Sir Patrick McLoughlin, with James Cleverly as his deputy.

The reshuffle will also include a new Northern Ireland secretary to replace James Brokenshire, who has quit for health reasons.

Justice Secretary David Lidington has been moved to the Cabinet Office, creating another vacancy.

When prime ministers make several changes to their ministerial line-up at the same time it is known as a reshuffle. New ministers can be appointed and existing ones moved or fired.

Mr Lewis, the Great Yarmouth MP, has been a minister since 2012 and is a qualified barrister and former local councillor.

In his role as chairman he will be tasked with broadening the Conservatives’ appeal after they lost their Commons majority in June’s general election.

He will be assisted by Mr Cleverly, the pro-Brexit backbench MP for Braintree, and a new line-up of vice chairs with responsibility for different areas has also been announced.

The replacement for Mr Brokenshire, who is awaiting surgery for a lung condition, will be at the heart of attempts to end the political deadlock at Stormont.


Theresa May posed with the new CCHQ team outside No 10



James Brokenshire had been Northern Ireland secretary since July 2016

Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Brexit Secretary David Davis are staying in their posts, and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is also not expected to move.

Labour said Mrs May should focus on the pressures in the NHS rather than what it said was a “desperate PR exercise”.

The reshuffle, which will continue into Tuesday, is being seen as an opportunity for Mrs May to promote more women, with female ministers only currently making up six of the 23 full members of her top team.

She is also under pressure to preserve the balance between Brexit sceptics and enthusiasts, while showing the government has a purpose beyond leaving the EU, which critics say is monopolising ministers’ time.

The risk and reward of reshuffles

Laura Kuenssberg, BBC political editor


Prime ministers do not, as Theresa May well knows, have as much power to shape their fortunes as the trappings of the grand office suggests.

However, one of the things they can control is the timing of reshuffles, and at least the initial set of decisions.

They are the moment when the boss does the hiring and firing of their team – to punish or reward and to position supporters or enemies into the most politically convenient spots.

Whether reshuffles are forced upon leaders by political accidents, such as scandals or resignations, or a desire to refresh the look and direction of the government – it is both in this case – as with many other big set piece moments in politics, they are times of huge potential reward, but huge risk too.

Read the rest of Laura’s blog

The changes, which will be Mrs May’s third reshuffle since becoming PM in July 2016, were triggered by her sacking of Damian Green last month as first secretary of state.

Mr Green was fired from his position, a role in which he was effectively Mrs May’s deputy, in December after making “misleading statements” to the press about pornography found on his office computer in 2008.

Mr Lidington has replaced Mr Green in the Cabinet Office but has not been made first secretary and it is not yet known whether he will take on his other responsibilities, like deputing for Mrs May at Prime Minister’s Questions.