Theresa May’s new cabinet starters have work to do

CCHQ vice chair for local government Marcus Jones, CCHQ vice chair for communities Rehman Chishti, C

CCHQ vice chair for local government Marcus Jones, CCHQ vice chair for communities Rehman Chishti, Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis, prime minister Theresa May and Conservative deputy chairman James Cleverly after the reshuffle - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

With the biggest cabinet beasts – Amber Rudd, Philip Hammond, Boris Johnson and David Davis – keeping their jobs this is a reshuffle that will not live long in the memory – apart from a few embarrassing gaffes.

Theresa May would no doubt have liked to have reshaped her cabinet more – but while she is propped up by the DUP and has a party still split over Brexit, this is as much tinkering as she feels she is able to carry out.

In Great Yarmouth's Brandon Lewis the Tories feel she has promoted a safe pair of hands. And his new job as chairman of the party is a vital role.

The direction of the party as the UK approaches the great challenges – and potential opportunities – that lie ahead as we exit the EU will be heavily influenced by Mr Lewis.

Mrs May will face accusations of weakness again, however. It is widely accepted that she felt business secretary Greg Clark should be moved. But this morning he will return to his old desk. Mrs May will probably never have the power to pick a cabinet entirely of her own choosing.

But now was the right time for her to try and renew – the start of a new year and one that will present many hurdles.

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With continued strain on incomes here in the East and hundreds of jobs still on the line, the public will hope there is a renewed focus from the cabinet on driving Britain forward. It won't be easy and the new starters will need to hit the ground running.

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