Rishi Sunak has promoted trade minister Greg Hands to be the new party chairman to replace Nadhim Zahawi who was forced to resign over his tax affairs. The Hammersmith and Fulham MP is seen as a safe pair of hands by colleagues and has long experience of organising election campaigns in London.
With the clock ticking for an election next year Mr Hands will have the task of getting the Tory campaign machine together to be fighting fit as the party tries to overcome a 21 point lead for Labour in the polls.
The reshuffle was supposed to have been wrapped up by 1030am this morning but furious push back from some ministers and Tory MPs has reportedly delayed it.
Mr Sunak has had to switch his Cabinet meeting to 3pm this afternoon.
Meanwhile, it is understood that Kemi Badenoch is set to be named as the new Business Secretary and moved from the International Trade department which is expected to be broken up.
This would leave question marks about the future of current Business Secretary Grant Shapps but the department is expected to be split into three opening up new roles.
Mr Sunak is also set to underline his priorities with the creation of an Energy and Security Department where Mr Shapps is expected to go.
He also wants to have a Digital, Science, Information and Tech Department where current Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan may end up.
The Prime Minister is also under pressure from Northern Cnservative MPs to keep his promise to create a Minister for the North made during the summer leadership campaign against Liz Truss.
In a letter to Mr Sunak, the executive board of the Northern Research Group chaired by Carlisle MP John Stevenson and including former party chairman Sir Jake Berry, Mr Sunak was reminded that the levelling up process has not yet finished.
They said: “This summer you signed a pledge to us that you would deliver a Minister for the North at Cabinet level. We are writing today to make sure you come good on that promise.”
One person expected to survive is Justice Secretary Dominic Raab who has been beset with a number of bullying allegations.
With Mr Raab still under investigation, the Prime Minister has postponed a decision on his future.
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