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May says reshuffle of UK cabinet will happen 'soon'
[LONDON] A UK cabinet reshuffle is coming soon, especially after the resignation of Damian Green as first secretary of state, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday.
Her comments coincided with newspaper reports that she is planning a major cull of senior figures as soon as Monday to promote fresher faces from a younger and more diverse generation of Conservatives.
Mr Green, who in effect was Mrs May's deputy, was forced to resign in December after an inquiry found he made misleading statements over pornography on his computer.
"Damian Green's departure before Christmas means that some changes do have to be made, and I will be making some changes," she said on the BBC's "Andrew Marr Show" in a recorded interview.
Asked when the changes might happen, she said, "it will be soon," and declined to provide further details.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt or Transport Secretary Chris Grayling are possible candidates for Mr Green's former Cabinet position, the Times reported on Sunday.
At a time when the UK's governing Tory party is split over Brexit policy, the threat of promotion or demotion could help keep some ministers in line. The shake up also could help Mrs May reset her domestic agenda and get back to work on the details for withdrawing from the European Union.
Boris Johnson, Philip Hammond, David Davis and Amber Rudd all will likely remain in their posts, the Times reported. Those slated to move or be sacked include Conservative Party chairman Patrick McLoughlin, Education Secretary Justine Greening, Business Secretary Greg Clark and leader of the Commons, Andrea Leadsom, the newspaper said.
According to the Telegraph, Mr Greening's successor would lead a push to convince voters of the Conservatives' dedication to education ahead of local elections in May.
Among those who might be promoted are Suella Fernandes, head of the European Research Group comprising Eurosceptic Tory backbenchers, and Seema Kennedy, Mrs May's parliamentary aide, according to the Times. Female ministers including Margot James, Harriet Baldwin, Claire Perry and Sarah Newton could also be given new posts.
High-profile Tories Jacob Rees-Mogg and Tom Tugendhat might also be given new jobs, the Times said. And if Mr Hunt moves from health to Mr Green's post, Anne Milton or Phillip Lee could replace him, the newspaper said.