In case you have been on holiday for the past few days and this blog is the first thing you read when you come back (a limited demographic, I know), we have a new Prime Minister! Gordon Brown took over from Tony Blair on Wednesday and has spent the last few days (terrorist threats aside) appointing his new ministers. Now everyone seems to be referring to this as a ‘reshuffle’, but surely you can’t reshuffle until you have first shuffled? And to have shuffled, first you must have appointed. So I reckon this is Gordon appointing his ministers, not reshuffling them, but no-one else seems to agree with me so I’ll just plough on and let you know the details instead of wittering on about the semantics.
The big news is not that we have a new Home Secretary (we knew that was going to happen months ago) but that we have the first ever female Home Secretary in Jacqui Smith. Liam Byrne MP, the Immigration Minister, is keeping his post. The Home Office website doesn’t seem to say which Parliamentary Undersecretary (the most junior level of minister) is taking on the refugee integration work, but it won’t be Joan Ryan as she has left the Home Office to be Special Representative to Cyprus. Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Meg Hillier has been promoted, so she may well take on that brief.
Hopefully we’ll be in a position to know who all the relevant ministers and advisers are later this week… In the meantime, if you want to find out more about Jacqui Smith you can find her profile here.