Hoping for a new start, Britain's May appoints new Conservative Party head

Hoping for a new start, Britain's May appoints new Conservative Party head

For a few minutes it looked as though Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was to become the party's chairman in Theresa May's January reshuffle.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Brexit Minister David Davis all stayed put.

Her first act was to replace the Tory party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin as punishment for having spearheaded a poor campaign in the general election in June a year ago when the number of Conservative MPs slipped from 331 to 318, thereby depriving the Prime Minister of an overall majority in the 650-seat House of Commons.

Immigration minister Brandon Lewis now been confirmed as the Conservative Party Chair - but not before another embarrassing gaffe for the conservative party.

The error comes after the party's website collapsed just as the Prime Minister embarked on a major shake-up of her top team.

Mr Brokenshire chose to quit on health grounds as the PM kicked off the overhaul of her "stale, male and pale" top team.

Cabinet reshuffle continues into Monday afternoon.

Ministers the British press had speculated were for the chop, including Greg Clark, were kept in place.

However, the post has actually been given to Brandon Lewis. "I'm in this for the long term", Mrs May told the BBC on Sunday, a new mantra from a Prime Minister who has been mocked in the local media as a "Maybot" for her dogged repetition of catchphrases and policy statements.

Rising star James Cleverly, who is open about his prime ministerial ambitions, is a step closer to realising those with his first promotion - he joins Cabinet as Lewis' deputy.

Justice Secretary David Lidington is said to be shifting to fill the gap left by the axing of deputy PM Damian Green over computer porn allegations - although he might not enjoy the same seniority.

The party's Twitter account congratulated Grayling, the MP for Epsom and Ewell, on succeeding Patrick McLoughlin as party chairman, before immediately deleting it.

James Brokenshire has stood down as secretary for Northern Ireland, on health grounds.

And Conservative Party HQ even went as far as announcing Grayling in the role before backtracking and confirming Lewis instead.

But the reshuffle began in chaotic fashion as the party was forced to delete a tweet revealing the wrong person as its new chairman. The pair will be charged with modernising the Tories, rejuvenating the membership and improving the party's campaigning techniques, including using social media better.

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