Gove returns to Cabinet in environment portfolio

Sajid Javid has been reappointed communities and local government secretary in last night’s mini- Cabinet reshuffle.

Javid, who retained his west midlands seat of Bromsgrove at last Thursday’s election, holds onto the portfolio that encompasses responsibility for housing and planning.

And Michael Gove has returned to the Cabinet after being appointed to the post of secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs. 

His predecessor Andrea Leadsom has been switched to become Leader of the Commons by prime minister Theresa May, who has also retained Philip Hammond as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Gavin Barwell, housing minister before losing his Croydon Central seat at last week’s election, has been appointed chief of staff at No 10 Downing Street following the resignation of May’s two chief advisors Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, who had held the post on a joint basis.  

Javid had been tipped for the chop following a series of perceived mis-steps prior to the general election, the most notable of which was his handling of the revaluation of business rates before the Budget.

However in what will be interpreted as a sign of May’s weakness within the Conservative government following her failure to win an overall majority at last week’s snap election, the Thatcherite former banker has remained in the Cabinet.

Gove’s appointment to Defra, where he has oversight of flooding policy, has already sparked controversy amongst greens who recalled his attempt to ditch climate change from the schools curriculum when he was secretary of state for education.

No decisions have yet to be made on junior ministerial portfolios.