'Bitterness and tears' in reshuffle rancour

"How can I put this... you're fired"
"How can I put this... you're fired"

By politics.co.uk staff

Tales of tantrums and tears are emerging as David Cameron wraps up his first major reshuffle as prime minister.

Cameron, who is not known as a reshuffle enthusiast, reportedly reduced three ministers to tears as he told them they had been sacked from the government.

According to reports in the Spectator and Times, the prime minister struggled to keep a control over the emotions of those he was forcing out of power.


Former Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan is among those thought to have cried when told the news. Bob Neill, the ex-communities and local government minister, is also thought to have struggled to hold back the tears.

"It obviously is incredibly difficult because there are ministers who had worked incredibly hard, who had done absolutely nothing wrong in their jobs, who were very dedicated," Cameron said on ITV1's Daybreak programme this morning.

"But when you have got a huge team of 300 MPs, huge challenges, it is important to bring new people on and bring new people in."

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman demanded an explanation for her dismissal, according to reports, and objected when the prime minister said her handling of the forestry – which led to the coalition's humiliating first U-turn – was to blame.

Sayeeda Warsi lost her spot in the Cabinet when she was replaced as Tory party co-chair by Grant Shapps. She was so upset she retreated to Yorkshire during negotiations, it was claimed.

Nick Herbert, the ex-policing minister who resigned after he was not offered a place in the Cabinet, had reportedly cleared his desk at the Home Office before the reshuffle began.

Justine Greening, the new international development secretary whose opposition to the Heathrow third runway cost her her job at the Department for Transport, is thought to have shouted at Cameron.

One Conservative backbencher told politics.co.uk he was "disappointed" by Greening's move, which is thought to pave the way for the question of a third runway to be reopened.

As stories of the drama of reshuffle day continued to emerge the prime minister was putting the finishing touches to his new government, with two final appointments expected today.

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