Political Analyst Explains the Real Goals of Theresa May’s Cabinet Reshuffle

© REUTERS / Daniel Leal-Olivas/Pool / Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leads her first cabinet meeting of the new year following a reshuffle at 10 Downing Street, London January 9, 2018
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leads her first cabinet meeting of the new year following a reshuffle at 10 Downing Street, London January 9, 2018 - Sputnik International
New changes made by the British prime minister to her cabinet appear to indicate that her authority may not be as strong as she would like others to believe, according to a notable political scientist.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has enacted one of the most significant reshufflings of her cabinet since she assumed office in 2016, ahead of a new phase of the Brexit talks.

Dr. John Curtice, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde and Fellow of The British Academy for Humanities and Social Sciences, told Radio Sputnik that the prime minister apparently pursued two objectives by performing this reshuffling.

"One is to demonstrate that she did indeed have a degree of authority as prime minister – the authority that has been weak ever since last June when she lost the overall majority in the snap election that she called. And the second thing was to try to put in the domestic departments – the departments that are not dealing directly with the withdrawal from the European Union – put in people that would drive forward her domestic agenda," he said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during a media conference with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at EU headquarters in Brussels on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. - Sputnik International
Theresa May's Reshuffle Proves She's in Office But Not in Power
According to Curtice, May failed to achieve her first objective, as Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt refused to be moved to the position of business secretary while Secretary for Education Justine Greening stepped down from the government, after turning down the offer to become work and pensions secretary.

"A prime minister who at Christmas was just looking politically a little bit stronger seems pretty much back to base camp again," Dr. Curtice remarked.

READ MORE: British Northern Ireland Minister Leaves as PM May Braces for Gov’t Shake-Up

During the course of the reshuffle that was launched on Monday, January 8, Brandon Lewis was designated as Conservative Party chairman, David Lidington became Cabinet Office Secretary and David Gauke took the post of Justice Secretary. Meanwhile, Karen Bradley became Northern Ireland secretary, while Matt Hancock took the post as the new Digital, Culture, Media and Sport minister.

At the same time, the current UK Foreign, Home and Brexit secretaries as well as the Chancellor of the Exchequer retained their respective offices.

The views and opinions expressed by John Curtice are solely those of the academic and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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