George Osborne: Theresa May's Cabinet reshuffle is the worst in modern history

Posted On: 
9th January 2018

George Osborne has launched another bitter attack on Theresa May by branding her Cabinet reshuffle the “worst in modern history”.

George Osborne has been at war with Theresa May since she sacked him as Chancellor.
PA Images

The former Chancellor said the Conservatives would “be finished” under the current Prime Minister if the Labour party was not “one of the worst oppositions we’ve ever had”.

His latest cutting remarks appeared in an editorial for the Evening Standard newspaper, which he now edits.

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Mrs May’s reshuffle descended into chaos last night as Justine Greening dramatically quit the Government rather than move from the education to the work and pensions brief.

Jeremy Hunt refused to budge from his health secretary post and Chris Grayling was accidentally named as the new Tory chair in a tweet send by the official Conservatives account.

The Evening Standard editorial read: “You have to hand it to this Prime Minister: she’s given us the hat-trick of the worst reshuffle, the worst party conference speech and the worst manifesto in modern history.

“If they were not facing one of the worst oppositions we’ve ever had, the Tories would be finished.”

It says those ministers who refused to follow her orders “defied their Prime Minister and exposed her as powerless”.

The editorial added: "Still unresolved is the big issue of the premiership itself: the Conservative Party assumes Mrs May will go at some point; Mrs May, as she made clear on Sunday, intends to stay.

"How that biggest of all potential reshuffles is resolved remains unclear. This week’s farce will not have dampened the speculation or expectation in Westminster."

Meanwhile an analysis by the Daily Telegraph revealed the percentages of male and privately educated Cabinet ministers were both up compared with before the reshuffle. 

The stats do not account for more junior ministers attending Cabinet - but are at odds with promises that the shake-up would make the team more diverse.

In one of the few surprise moves of the reshuffle, Jo Johnson was moved from the universities brief to a job in the Department for Transport.

Elsewhere, Mark Garnier was sacked as a trade minister just weeks after the Cabinet Office said asking his PA to buy him sex toys was not a breach of the ministerial code.

And Dominic Raab was moved from the Ministry of Justice to replace Alok Sharma as Housing Minister, while Mr Sharma took a job in the Department for Work and Pensions. 

Keep up to date with all the New Year reshuffle moves as they happen on our live grid.