And while the Prime Minister is in the centre of a crisis within her own ranks, her decision to bring back former justice secretary Michael Gove, one of her opponents in last year’s Conservative leadership contest, has not gone unnoticed.
Mr Gove, whose ambitions to lead the party saw Brexit pal Boris Johnson change his mind about standing himself, was relegated to the backbenches following Mrs May’s win last year.
Here are the list of winners – and losers – in the minor reshuffle.
Mr Gove returns to frontline politics almost a year after the Brexit campaigner was frozen out by Mrs May in her first Cabinet. His appointment as Environment Secretary has even been welcomed by Boris Johnson – despite their falling out during the leadership contest. The 49-year-old’s wife, journalist Sarah Vine, was forced to deny being power-hungry after an email blunder revealed she told him not to “concede any ground” to Mr Johnson. But there appears to be no hard feelings as the Foreign Secretary tweeted: “It’s a GOVErnment of all the talents. Welcome back to Michael!” Mr Gove himself admitted: “I was quite surprised I have to say.” He added he had been enjoying the sunshine in Surrey when he got the phone call summoning him to Downing Street.
Mr Gauke has won his second promotion in as many Mrs May Cabinets, having been picked to replace Damian Green at the Department for Work and Pensions. The 44-year-old Oxford law graduate and former City lawyer tweeted he was “delighted and honoured to have been appointed Secretary of State for Work & Pensions”. Last July he had moved up to chief secretary to the Treasury from financial secretary to the Treasury, a post he had held since July 2014. The father-of-three has held posts at the Treasury since the Conservative-led coalition took power in 2010 and has been MP for Hertfordshire South West since the 2005 election.
Mr Green was another to win a promotion – going from Work and Pensions Secretary to First Secretary of State – effectively Mrs May’s number two as the title is generally associated with the role of deputy prime minister. A long-standing ally of Mrs May, he will also take on the role of Minister for the Cabinet Office. He was minister for state for police and criminal justice until 2014. Mr Green, 61, graduated from Oxford and worked as a journalist before becoming an MP in 1997.
Stepping into Liz Truss’s shoes as Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Mr Lidington has a full in-tray that includes improving prison standards. He had been Europe minister between 2010 and last year when he moved across to leader of the House of Commons, a post concerned with the smooth running of the Commons. The Cambridge history graduate and father-of-four has been MP for Aylesbury since 1992 and has previously worked for BP and mining firm Rio Tinto. He tweeted that he was “honoured and delighted” with the role.
Mrs Truss was the biggest loser in the reshuffle, having gone from justice secretary and a significant seat at the top table to being one of four people who “also attends Cabinet”. As Chief Secretary to the Treasury, she will work under Philip Hammond with responsibility for public sector pay and pensions, tax credits and the EU Budget. She faced widespread criticism over her failure to defend the judiciary from media attacks over the High Court decision that Parliament must vote to trigger Article 50. The 41-year-old insisted she was happy with the move, tweeting: “Delighted to be appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Looking forward to getting down to work. Thanks to the fab team at MoJ (Ministry of Justice).”
In one sense, Mrs Leadsom’s move from Secretary of State for the Environment to become Leader of the House of Commons in charge of government business in Parliament is seen as quite an important one, and a sign of confidence that Mrs May has in her former leadership rival. However, Mrs Leadsom will not be a full Cabinet minister – but will attend Cabinet meetings.
Top pic: Rex