A leading gay Tory has been moved from his Shadow Justice brief to take on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Nick Herbert, who entered into a civil partnership just a few weeks ago, takes over from Peter Ainsworth, who has been sacked.

Dominic Grieve moves from Shadow Home Secretary to replace Mr Herbert as Shadow Justice Secretary.

As reported last night, Alan Duncan has been replaced as Shadow Business Secretary by Ken Clarke.

The former Chancellor returns to the Shadow Cabinet after more than a decade away from the frontbench.

Conservative party leader David Cameron claimed the party now has the “strongest possible Shadow Cabinet to take us forward to the General Election.

“With Ken Clarke’s arrival, we now have the best economic team.

“With the other changes I have made today, we have combined fresh thinking with experience, hope and change with stability and common sense.”

Mr Duncan is the new Shadow Leader of the House of Commons.

He replaces Theresa May, who is to take the Work and Pensions brief and retain her role as Shadow Minister for Women.

Chris Grayling has been promoted from Work and Pensions to Shadow Home Secretary.

Eric Pickles takes the role of Party Chairman, replacing Caroline Spelman, who remains in Shadow Cabinet with the Communities and Local Government portfolio.

Ms Spelman’s future is in the balance after it emerged last year that she used parliamentary allowances to pay her nanny, claiming she also did secretarial work.

A Parliamentary investigation is due to report next month on whether she broke the rules.