Cameron removes Tory 'big beast' as Justice Secretary
David Cameron moved to rejuvenate his top team yesterday in a shake-up that could help quell unrest on the Tory right.
The Prime Minister promoted Chris Grayling to Justice Secretary, replacing veteran Ken Clarke, who had been criticised as too soft.
But a decision to remove Justine Greening from the transport brief was immediately criticised by London mayor Boris Johnson, who accused Mr Cameron of shifting her because she opposed building a third runway at Heathrow airport.
The coalition's first major reshuffle was discussed by Mr Cameron and his Liberal Democrat deputy Nick Clegg, but many of the appointments are unlikely to please the junior party.
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Apart from Mr Grayling, Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson – a strong supporter of fox-hunting – was switched to the environment brief.
Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Gove have held on to the key roles of work and pensions and education.
Jeremy Hunt was also rewarded for a successful Olympics, being shifted from culture to become Health Secretary, despite controversy over his handling of the BSkyB takeover bid.
The Lib Dems refused to back him in parliament in the face of the criticism.
Maria Miller had one of the biggest promotions, becoming Culture Secretary after previously serving as minister for the disabled.
Theresa Villiers, formerly transport minister, was appointed Northern Ireland Secretary.
Casualties of the changes included Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan and Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, while Andrew Lansley's move from health to Leader of the House will be seen as a demotion.
Baroness Warsi is no longer Conservative Party chairman, but will attend Cabinet with responsibilities for foreign affairs and faith.
All of the Liberal Democrats' Cabinet ministers kept their jobs, and there is a return for David Laws, who becomes education minister more than two years after he resigned over an expenses scandal.
Chris Grayling's installation as Justice Secretary was warmly welcomed by those on the right of the Tory party.
He forged a reputation as tough on crime while serving as shadow home secretary before the General Election.
By contrast, Mr Clarke had been criticised for his defence of the Human Rights Act and backing for community sentences rather than prison.
But the former chancellor denied that being moved to minister without portfolio, where he is expected to advise on the economy, was an humiliation.
The 72-year-old Tory "big beast" told reporters: "Being offered a job in the Cabinet at my age? Don't be so daft. It's rather a privilege, I think."
In a statement later, he said: "When David Cameron first asked me to return to the frontbench, we agreed that I would serve in the Cabinet for two years.
"I am very pleased he has now asked me to stay on in Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio.
"At my age, it is time for me to step back from the slog of running a large department, but I am delighted to have a more advisory political role."