Theresa May’s inability to convince members of her cabinet to move jobs demonstrates her lack of leadership abilities and the weakness that has dogged her premiership.
The prime minister had no plans to move those in high profile positions despite a series of errors over the last 12 months that saw Boris Johnson nearly pushing a British citizen into jail in Iran and David Davis making excuses to parliament as to why he had not made any useful Brexit impact assessments at all. However, she had hoped that a reorganisation of some members of the cabinet could bring some new life to her team after a disastrous 2017.
Some changes went to plan, but many did not. One experienced minister refused to move and Justine Greening quit the cabinet altogether after the PM attempted to transfer her to pensions secretary. Greening now poses a much greater threat to May from the backbenches, where she is unrestrained by collective ministerial responsibility and can hold the PM to account for her governments continued failure to manage Brexit.
After the botched appointment the unqualified and unpopular Toby Young to board of the new Office for Students, the PM was forced to move Jo Johnson from the universities brief. However, May failed to take the authority and sack him, and instead kept him in the cabinet as transport minister in an attempt to appease his brother Boris.
In another controversial move, Jeremy Hunt managed to convince the PM that his brief should be expanded from health to also include social care, despite overseeing constant missed targets and one of the worst winter crises to hit the NHS in decades and constant fights with doctors and nurses and appalling “third world” hospital conditions.
Conservative Campaign HQ (CCHQ) added to the chaos by congratulating Chris Grayling for his appointment to Conservative Party Chairman before he had entered Number 10. After about an hour of confusion, it was announced that Brandon Lewis had the job and Grayling would stay as transport secretary.