Theresa May appoints James Brokenshire as new Northern Ireland Secretary

Theresa Villiers resigned, saying she was offered a job but decided not to take it

UK, Politics, Brexit, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Theresa May, Cameron

James Brokenshire, who has been appointed Northern Ireland Secretary, leaves 10 Downing Street, London. Image: Andrew Matthews / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Several key members of David Cameron's cabinet have lost their jobs in the British government as Theresa May continues to build her new team.

Theresa Villiers resigned as Northern Ireland Secretary, adding that the "new Prime Minister was kind enough to offer me a role but it was not one which I felt I could take on". She has been replaced by James Brokenshire.

Mr Brokenshire is an MP for the Old Bexley and Sidcup constituency in greater London. He was previously the UK's immigration minister. 

Michael Gove was the first to be sacked as Justice Secretary by the new Prime Minister, joining ex-chancellor George Osborne on the backbenches in a dramatic change to the cabinet team.

Mr Gove, whose decision to stand in the Tory leadership race and dash the premiership ambitions of his fellow Brexiteer Boris Johnson in what was regarded an act of treachery, wished the new-look cabinet "the best of luck".

He wrote on Twitter: 

Hot on his heels out the door was Nicky Morgan, who backed his leadership bid.

Ms Morgan said she was "disappointed not to be continuing as education secretary and minister for women and equalities - two wonderful roles it's been a privilege to hold".

John Whittingdale was sacked as culture secretary and chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Letwin was also given the boot.

Mr Whittingdale said it had been "a privilege" to serve in the cabinet, adding: "I wish my successor every success and will continue to support creative industries."

Mrs May's leadership rival, Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb, also quit "in the best interests of my family".

It was disclosed last week that the married father-of-two had exchanged a number of sexts with a woman in the run-up to the EU referendum.

He was replaced by Damian Green, a key supporter of Mrs May and a former immigration minister.

Mr Gove joins ex-chancellor George Osborne on the backbenches in a dramatic change to the Cabinet team.

Andrea Leadsom, who stood down from the leadership contest on Monday handing the premiership to Mrs May, was put in charge at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Priti Patel, another prominent Brexit supporter, is now in charge of international development.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has kept his job - despite his failure to solve the junior doctors crisis and reports that he too was on his way out.

After meeting with Mrs May, he joked reports of his "death have been greatly exaggerated":

The sackings came as Mrs May returned to Downing Street on Thursday to continue the process of appointing ministers to her new administration.

The firings followed a slew of appointments last night, which included Boris Johnson being appointed Foreign Secretary and Philip Hammond being made Chancellor.

Who's In?

  • Chancellor - Philip Hammond (previous foreign sec)
  • Home Secretary - Amber Rudd (previously energy and climate change sec)
  • Foreign Secretary - Boris Johnson
  • Defence Secretary - Michael Fallon (no change)
  • Secretary of State for Exiting The European Union - David Davis
  • International Trade Secretary - Liam Fox
  • Justice Secretary - Liz Truss (previously environment secretary)
  • Education Secretary - Justine Greening (previously international development secretary)
  • Transport Secretary - Chris Grayling (previously leader of the Commons)
  • Work and Pensions Secretary - Damian Green
  • Environment Secretary - Andrea Leadsom (previously energy minister)
  • Communities Secretary - Sajid Javid (previously business minister)
  • Northern Ireland Secretary - James Brokenshire (previously immigration minister)
  • Business and Energy Secretary - Greg Clark (previously local government minister)
  • International Development Secretary - Priti Patel (previously employment minister)
  • Culture Secretary - Karen Bradley
  • Wales Secretary - Alun Cairns (no change)
  • Scotland Secretary - David Mundell (no change)
  • Chief Secretary to the Treasury - David Gauke (previously financial secretary to the Treasury)
  • Leader of the House of Commons - David Lidington (previously Europe minister)
  • Chief Whip - Gavin Williamson
  • Conservative Party Chairman/Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster - Patrick McLoughlin (previously transport secretary)
  • Health Secretary - Jeremy Hunt (no change)
  • Leader of the House of Lords - Baroness Evans

Who's Out?

  • Chancellor - George Osborne
  • Justice Secretary - Michael Gove
  • Education Secretary - Nicky Morgan
  • Culture Secretary - John Whittingdale
  • Northern Ireland Secretary - Theresa Villiers
  • Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster - Oliver Letwin
  • Work and Pensions Secretary - Stephen Crabb
  • Chief Secretary to the Treasury - Greg Hands