Reshuffle: Chloe Smith returns to Cabinet Office and ex-Cameron spad gets ministerial post

Entire ministerial team at the central Whitehall department changes as Theresa May completes wide-ranging government reshuffle

Chloe Smith, who previously served in the Cabinet Office as minister for political and constitutional reform. Credit: PA 

By Richard Johnstone

10 Jan 2018

Prime minister Theresa May has named an all-new ministerial team to the Cabinet Office, with former minister Chloe Smith returning to the department and a former special advisor to David Cameron taking his first ministerial role.

In a wide-ranging reshuffle of the lower ministerial ranks following a Cabinet reshuffle on Monday, new appointments were made at nearly every government department. The Cabinet Office saw the most wide-ranging changes, with all ministers changing.


Former justice secretary David Lidington was made Cabinet Office minister on Monday, replacing Damian Green who resigned in December after it was discovered that Green had made inaccurate and misleading statements about porn found on his office computer in 2008.

Smith, who previously served in the Cabinet Office as minister for political and constitutional reform from 2012 to 2013, returns to the department from the Northern Ireland Office. Oliver Dowden, who served as former prime minister David Cameron’s deputy chief of staff overseeing domestic policy in No 10 until he was elected to Parliament in 2015, gets his first ministerial appointment. 

Together with Brandon Lewis’s replacement of Sir Patrick McLoughlin as Conservative Party chairman, which is counted as a Cabinet Office position, this means that all ministerial jobs in the central Whitehall department have changed.

Both Caroline Nokes, who had been the Cabinet Office minister for government resilience and efficiency, including responsibility for the civil service, and Chris Skidmore, the minister for the constitution, which includes responsibility for public bodies, left the department yesterday. Nokes was moved to the post of immigration minister in the reshuffle, while Skidmore lost his ministerial job as he was named the Conservative Party’s vice-chair for policy.

No ministerial responsibilities have yet been confirmed among the new appointments. It remains to be seen if Lidington will take on the more traditional Cabinet Office responsibilities such as civil service reform, or continue in the cross-government coordination role pioneered by Green, who was given the title of first secretary of state, which Lidington has not.

Other high-profile reshuffle appointments confirmed yesterday included the appointment of former justice minister Sam Gyimah to the post of universities minister, replacing Jo Johnson, who has been moved to the Department for Transport. The move came hours after controversial journalist Toby Young, who Johnson had named to the board of the new Office for Students university regulator, resigned his post following an outcry over sexist comments he had made throughout his career.

Other moves included housing minister Alok Sharma being moved to the Department for Work and Pensions as employment minister, while he has been replaced at the newly-renamed Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government by former justice minister Dominic Raab.

New ministers are also appointed at the newly-monikered Department of Health and Social Care, with Caroline Dinenage and Stephen Barclay both moving to the department. 

A full list of the new government ministers can be found here

Read the most recent articles written by Richard Johnstone - Building the future: Steven Boyd on making government property work for the civil service

Share this page