Cameron's reshuffle: Is it unravelling already?

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Shuffling the pack: But Cameron is still in trouble.
Shuffling the pack: But Cameron is still in trouble.

David Cameron's reshuffle has been attacked from inside and outside the Conservative party before it is even completed.

As junior ministerial posts were still being agreed, Boris Johnson criticised the prime minister's decision to remove Justine Greening from Cabinet, reportedly because of her opposition to a third runway at Heathrow.

"There can be only one reason to move her - and that is to expand Heathrow airport," he said.

"It is simply mad to build a new runway in the middle of west London. Now it is clear that the government wants to ditch its promises and send yet more planes over central London. We will fight this all the way."


Asked by the BBC if the reshuffle would create a more "cohesive" Conservative party, backbencher Eleanor Laing replied: "I very much doubt it."

Meanwhile, Jeremy Hunt's appointment as health secretary was attacked for his support for homeopathic medicine, his questionable record on the NHS and his support for a radical reduction in the time limit for abortions.

The new health secretary is reported to have demanded that the NHS section of the Olympic opening ceremony was removed from Danny Boyle's production.

In 2007 Hunt signed an early day motion in support of homeopathy. He later wrote to a constituent: "Homeopathic care is enormously valued by thousands of people and in an NHS that the government repeatedly tells us is 'patient-led' it ought to be available where a doctor and patient believe that a homeopathic treatment may be of benefit to the patient."

Women's right groups savaged the reshuffle for drastically reducing the number of women in Cabinet, despite a pre-election promise to make a third of government ministers female.

"Cameron has cut the number of women at the top table of politics by some 20%," Ceri Goddard, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said.

"We now have a Cabinet where men outnumber women five to one making some of the biggest budgetary decisions of this era. The prime minister has chosen to further marginalise women’s influence on politics."

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