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New Cabinet in numbers

  • Nick
  • 28 Jun 07, 05:12 PM

Size: Old Cabinet 23, new Cabinet 22
Women: Old Cabinet 8, new Cabinet 5
Scots: Old Cabinet 5, new Cabinet 4
Number of ministers over 60: Old Cabinet 5, new Cabinet 1
Number of ministers under 40: Old Cabinet 2, new Cabinet 5
Average age: Old Cabinet 54, new Cabinet 49

Sacked, resigned or demoted: 10
cf. 'Night of the long knives' in 1962: 7

UPDATE, FRI 1350: Many of you have asked why I put up the number of Scots. I would have thought the answer was obvious. Gordon Brown is the first MP representing a Scottish seat (it's that which matters and not really where he was born) to become PM since devolution. Thus his critics will complain that his constituents will not be affected by and will not be able to hold him to account for many of his domestic policies. Agree or disagree, like it or loathe it, Brown's Scottishness will be a part of the political debate.

Jacqui who?

  • Nick
  • 28 Jun 07, 03:54 PM

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith'Jacqui who?', many outside Westminster might say.

They don't say that in the House of Commons, that's for sure. She's been an incredibly effective chief whip making peace between the warring Blair and Brown factions. And the belief, in the Brown camp, that some of that skill, that common sense and strength of personality, is just what's required at the Home Office, to deal with the issues of terrorism and immigration.

Remember, of course, that responsibility for prisons has gone elsewhere.

... and they're off

  • Nick
  • 28 Jun 07, 02:19 PM

The first Cabinet has begun. Gordon Brown's opening words were "It's very strange to be sitting across from the chancellor" before saying that he looked forward to their encounters!

Spoiling our fun

  • Nick
  • 28 Jun 07, 10:53 AM

Gordon Brown has spoilt our fun this morning by abolishing the parade of ministers up and down Downing Street to cries of "Are you happy?". He has done this by the very simple expedient of seeing people in the PM's Commons office - away from the cameras and away from prying journalistic eyes.

This after Alastair Darling declared that ministers should not worry about being "dull and boring" and get on with their jobs.

The public may cheer this grown up attitude to politics but I have a warning for Team Brown - the "Association of Commentators, Speculators, Time Fillers and Allied Trades" will be in touch - and we're not happy.

PS: Ben Macintyre of the Times sums up deliciously Gordon Brown's performance yesterday. "Mr Brown," he writes, "is inspiringly rubbish at the theatre of his new job, faultlessly uncomfortable."

Embodying change

  • Nick
  • 28 Jun 07, 09:51 AM

Never mind Gordon Brown's school motto. His political motto is "time for a change" - four words which strike fear into any government unless they can embody the change.

Today's Cabinet reshuffle won't just be a dramatic change in the faces at the top of government - a once in a career opportunity to change the holders of the biggest jobs in politics. It will reveal a great deal about Gordon Brown's priorities:

(Clockwise from top left) Ed Balls, Alan Johnson, Douglas Alexander, David MilibandEd Balls: Brown's right hand man for a decade will get a new Department of - what Brown calls "my passion" - Education.

Alan Johnson: Labour's smoother of troubled waters gets "my priority" - Health. Johnson is renowned for his political skills not his reforming zeal. This is the clearest sign that Brown is taking Downing Street's foot off the pedal marked "reform"

David Miliband: He'll become the youngest foreign secretary since David Owen but what matters more is his anger at the war in Lebanon and scepticism about the war in Iraq. Together with Douglas Alexander - the new man at DFID - foreign policy is in the hands of men more sceptical about "intervention".

Alistair DarlingFinally, for now, let us not forget Alastair Darling - the soon to be new Chancellor. A man so decidedly low key and whose appointment is so predictable that it's easy to forget he is one of the biggest hitters in this government. Darling prides himself on taking the heat and the noise out of politics and just getting on with the job. Doesn't he realise that we journalists have jobs to do?!!!

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