Cameron Replaces Scottish Secretary in Government ReshuffleRobert Hutton
David Cameron replaced the U.K. cabinet minister responsible for Scotland as he reorganized his government team with 19 months before the next general election.
Michael Moore, from the prime minister’s Liberal Democrat coalition partners, stepped down from his job as Scottish secretary and was succeeded by Alistair Carmichael, who was previously in charge of party discipline in the House of Commons. Cameron announced the move and other ministerial changes on his Twitter feed today.
Sajid Javid, a former senior managing director at Deutsche Bank AG who entered Parliament in 2010, was promoted to financial secretary to the Treasury, the third most senior post in Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s department. He was replaced as economic secretary, the fifth most senior post, by Nicky Morgan in a move that restores a woman to the Treasury team. Both are members of Cameron’s Conservative Party and represent districts in the English Midlands.
“This is a chance for Cameron to bring forward people who don’t look like the stereotype white male Tory from southeast England,” Philip Cowley, professor of politics at Nottingham University, said in an interview. “The idea is to look more representative of Britain at the next election.”
Cameron’s spokesman was pressured to defend the promotion of Liberal Democrat Norman Baker to the Home Office at a briefing for reporters, who raised questions about a book Baker wrote in 2007 titled “The Strange Death of David Kelly.”
Baker suggested in that volume that Kelly, a government scientist who was the source of a BBC story saying the official U.K. dossier justifying the Iraq war was “sexed up,” was murdered by Iraqi agents in 2003, with the death covered up by the U.K. security agency, MI5. An inquest found Kelly had committed suicide.
“He’s an experienced minister,” said the spokesman, Jean-Christophe Gray, declining to comment further.
Carmichael’s appointment comes less than a year before Scotland votes on whether to break away from the rest of the U.K. Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has scheduled a referendum for Sept. 18, 2014, and opinion polls show most Scots are opposed to independence, backing the line taken by the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and the main opposition Labour Party.
The opposition Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, also reorganized his team, promoting Rachel Reeves to be work and pensions spokeswoman, Tristram Hunt to be education spokesman and Mary Creagh as transport spokeswoman. The party said it hadn’t changed position on the planned high-speed rail line between London and London and northern England. Creagh’s predecessor, Maria Eagle, is a supporter of the project.