Clarke axed from Cabinet post

Beleaguered Home Secretary Charles Clarke has been sacked as Prime Minister Tony Blair reshuffled his Cabinet following major Labour losses in England's local elections.

The Home Secretary had been at the centre of a row over the release of over a thousand foreign prisoners, without them being considered for deportation, and has faced repeated calls to resign.

Clarke will be replaced by Defence Secretary John Reid and Des Browne will become Defence Secretary.

Following the announcement, Mr Clarke said that he did not agree with the decision, but said that he would continue to support the government.

Mr Clarke had said that he had wanted to remain in the Home Secretary post in order to sort out the row over foreign prisoners. He reportedly turned down a number of other Cabinet positions and will now return to the backbenches.

The Foreign Secretary role will now be spilt into two, with one minister for Europe and another for the rest of the world. Geoff Hoon will take the post of European Secretary and Margaret Beckett will become World Foreign Secretary.

Former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will replace Mr Hoon as the leader of the House of Commons, while David Miliband will replace Ms Beckett as Environment Secretary.

However, John Prescott, who also faced calls to resign over revelations that he had an affair with his secretary, will remain in the post of Deputy Prime Minister although he has been stripped of his departmental brief. Ruth Kelly will take over many of Mr Prescott's government responsibilities, as well as the position of Minister for Women from Tessa Jowell, who remains as Culture Secretary.

Former Education Secretary Mrs Kelly has been replaced in her post by Trade Secretary Alan Johnson.

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling will take over the position of Trade Secretary, leaving Douglas Alexander to take over the post of Transport Secretary, as well as the post of Minister for Scotland.

Home Office Minister Hazel Blears will become Labour Party Chairman.

Patricia Hewitt remains as Health Secretary.

Commenting on the Cabinet reshuffle, Conservative leader David Cameron said:"It's not a reshuffle the country needs, but a replacement government."

On Friday afternoon, Mr Blair was facing calls to step down as Prime Minister.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

18 October 2011
Fox 'Broke Ministerial Code' Report Will Say
A Government report is expected to find that former Defence Secretary Liam Fox broke the Ministerial Code in his dealings with his friend Adam Werritty, However, the report, being compiled by Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell, is also expected to claim Mr Fox did not gain financially from the arrangements or his controversial dealings and trips t
10 May 2004
Reformed apprenticeships offer further skills opportunities
The Government hope that more young people will get the opportunity to learn skills under reforms to Apprenticeships announced by Education and Skills Secretary Charles Clarke and the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown.
09 May 2005
Blair under pressure to resign
Prime Minister Tony Blair is facing increasing pressure to resign, just days after leading the Labour Party to victory in the General Election. Former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and former Health Secretary Frank Dobson have lent their voices to the growing campaign for Mr Blair to step down.
14 December 2006
Losses force Post Office closures
Around 2,500 of the UK's post offices are expected to close by 2009 due to financial losses. The Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling today told MPs that the cuts were needed because of substantial losses of around £4 million a week. He also announced plans of a five-year investment package of £1.
14 April 2003
Straw denies plans for armed action against Syria
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said that there are no Coalition plans for a military intervention in Syria – despite the more bellicose statements emerging from Whitehouse officials.