Eric Pickles has confirmed he will remain communities secretary as prime minister David Cameron enacts a wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle.
In other moves at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), MP for Portsmouth North and former Splash! contestant Penny Mordaunt was appointed as communities minister and minister for coastal communities.
Once fated for a move to party chairman, Pickles took to Twitter to announce his news early this afternoon:
Just spoken to the PM I am very honoured to continue as Secretary of State at DCLG #reshuffle— Eric Pickles (@EricPickles) July 15, 2014
Brandon Lewis said he too was ‘honoured’ to be promoted to minister of state at DCLG.
With less than a year to go before next year’s general election, Cameron also sacked Owen Paterson as environment secretary.
Paterson – who oversaw numerous high profile national crises including sustained winter flooding and the horse meat scandal – was replaced by Liz Truss, who was one of a number of women promoted to high profile positions.
However, Labour’s shadow minister for women and equalities, Gloria De Piero, branded Cameron’s reshuffle ‘a damp squib’.
Cameron also announced employment minister Esther McVey would take on responsibility for the disabled, with former minister for disabled people Mike Penning appointed as minister of state at the Home Office and Ministry of Justice.
One of the highest profile moves was Michael Gove, who will leave his role as education secretary to become House of Commons chief whip.
Commenting on the move, Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said Gove’s vision for education including ‘pursuit of the unnecessary and often unwanted free schools and academies programme’ had been ‘simply wrong’.
William Hague announced late last night that he was standing down as foreign secretary, with former defence secretary Philip Hammond later being confirmed as his replacement. Mr Hague said: ‘I am stepping aside as foreign secretary, in order to focus all my efforts on supporting the government in parliament and gaining a Conservative victory in the general election.’