Government ministers set to lose jobs in coming reshuffle after Syria vote

Ministers set for chop after missing Syria vote

Ministers set for chop after missing Syria vote

By staff

David Cameron is set to seek retribution against abstaining ministers in last week's Syria vote – by sacking them from the government in the looming reshuffle.

The prime minister is reportedly preparing to fire ministers who contributed to his 13-vote defeat by failing to show up to vote.

International development secretary Justine Greening leads the pack of inexplicable absentees. She claims she was in a meeting at the time of the 10pm vote and was unaware it was taking place.

Fellow Tory Alan Duncan, a junior minister in Greening's department, is also reportedly in line to lose his job after claiming he was simply abroad and "couldn't get back in time". One No 10 insider told the Mail on Sunday: "The PM can put up with bumptiousness, but disloyalty is a different matter."

Treasury minister David Gauke could also pay for his absence from the Commons chamber on Thursday night with his job, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

He told the newspaper the whips had given him permission to miss the vote, however.

"I think it's a pity that the House voted the way that it has and obviously the government has to accept parliament's opinion in these matters," Gauke said.

The man most likely to pay the price for the defeat is Sir George Young, the chief whip who only agreed to remain involved in the 'usual channels' of parliamentary business management after Andrew Mitchell's short-lived tenure in the job ended with the plebgate scandal.

Former defence secretary Liam Fox is thought to be in the running to replace him, although immigration minister Mark Harper is also highly tipped.

Other coalition ministers who missed the vote include Liberal Democrat pensions minister Steve Webb, Ken Clarke and Africa minister Mark Simmonds.

Some reports say the reshuffle, Cameron's second since entering Downing Street in 2010, could take place as soon as next week.