Current Affairs

Analysis: Big changes expected in a Brown cabinet

Tony Grew May 10, 2007
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When Tony Blair told his Cabinet of his intention to resign this morning, many of them must have been wondering if they would still be a minister by the time the next PM takes office.

Picking his own Cabinet will give Mr Blair’s expected successor, Gordon Brown, a chance to revitalise the government.

As many as eight Cabinet ministers could go after a change of leader on June 27th.

Home Secretary John Reid has already revealed he will stand down once the selection process for a new leader and deputy is concluded in July.

John Prescott has announced he is standing down.

It is expected that veteran minister Margaret Beckett, currently Foreign Secretary, will also leave office.

With Mr Brown leaving the Treasury, that would mean that the three “big jobs” are vacant.

Blairite ministers like Tessa Jowell and Patricia Hewitt are likely to be sacked.

Lord Falconer, former flatmate of Mr Blair who was ennobled so he could become a minister, is unlikely to survive.

Indeed, his new role as Minister for Justice is clearly unsuitable for a peer to hold – it will have to be given up.

Ruth Kelly, while a Blair loyalist, also worked with Mr Brown at the Treasury.

The controversial Roman Catholic minister is likely to remain in Cabinet but be moved from her current gay rights brief.

All eyes are on who Gordon Brown will appoint to succeed him as Chancellor.

The Home Office split has prompted talk that the Treasury is “too big” for one minister and will be divided into a finance and an economics ministry.

Rumours that Mr Brown’s protege Ed Balls might be promoted into the Chancellor role seem a little far-fetched.

He only became an MP in 2005 and first entered the government a year ago as the very junior Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

It would be a huge vote of confidence if he was appointed as No2, Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Alastair Darling is talked about as a possible Chancellor, though his nationality might be an issue.

Jack Straw is also talked about as a safe pair of hands at the Treasury.

In the post-devolution climate, Mr Brown will have to be careful not to appoint too many fellow Scots to the Cabinet.

A new Cabinet will be an opportunity to promote many of the talented junior ministers that have thrived in the last ten years.

Yvette Cooper, the Housing Minister and Caroline Flint, the Minister for Public Health, could be two popular promotions to the top table.

Ben Bradshaw, the most senior gay minister, could also be promoted. He has been widely praised for his effectiveness as an environment minister.

David Miliband will almost certainly be promoted, as will Alan Johnson and Hilary Benn.

Brown loyalists like Douglas Alexander and Ed Miliband will also see advancement.

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