British Prime Minister David Cameron has targeted opponents of his flagship ‘Same Sex Marriage’ legislation, as well as reducing the number of men in the British cabinet in tonight’s long-awaited UK Cabinet reshuffle.
The move has seen older, middle class minsters dumped in an unprecedented cull, with the only two Secretaries of State who voted against gay marriage – Owen Paterson and David Jones – being sacked.
Cameron is embarking on his final ministerial changes before the general election in May 2015. Whilst no appointments are made until tomorrow news that younger women will replace the old guard is now the talk of Westminster.
There are also concerns that Paterson and Jones were the two key right-wingers in the Cabinet. Paterson was the notably pro-farming Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He had been controversial for forcing through a cull of badgers to stop the spread of tuberculosis.
Animal rights campaigners led by former Queen guitarist Dr Brian May CBE, spent months attacking the plan, doing significant damage to his career.
Earlier today the Western Mail reported that Lord Howard of Rising, a farmer and local councillor, said removing Mr Paterson would risk boosting UKIP as he also does not believe in man-made global warming.
David Jones, Secretary of State for Wales and a staunch catholic, was morally opposed to the gay marriage proposal. His special advisor Lauren McEvatt was also a key ally of the Thatcherite pressure group Conservative Way Forward.
It seems that Jones will be replaced by Stephen Crabb – one snippet of information that has leaked since there are very few Welsh Conservative MPs. The pool of options was limited, therefore a result was clear from the beginning.
Dominic Grieve will also leave as Attorney General. He was widely thought to be too posh for the modern image of the coalition government. He was also opposed to major changes to the European Convention on Humans Rights, widely seen as the cause of unfairness in the British justice system.
Left-wing ‘Conservative’ Ken Clarke has resigned as Cabinet Minister Without Portfolio. He is 74 years old and has served in Cabinet for decades. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer under the Premiership of John Major from 1993 to 1997.
Clarke was popular for his competence but failed on a number of occasions to gain the leadership due to his pro-European views. He is expected to also announce his retirement from Parliament shortly.
Other changes include the chop for climate change activist Greg Barker, recently appointed Transport Minister Stephen Hammond loses his place, and and police minister Damian Green and Higher Education minister David Willetts are out too.
The appointment of all the new ministers will be announced tomorrow, but only after the new Chief Whip is appointed. This is expected to be Greg Hands, the MP for Fulham and Chelsea.
Tipped for promotion are a raft of female MPs including Esther McVey, Nicky Morgan, and Priti Patel.