Theresa May has cleared the decks for a New Year revamp of her Government, scrapping plans to give MPs a free vote on overturning the ban on fox hunting.
The Prime Minister will seek to stamp her authority with a Cabinet reshuffle beginning on Monday amid reports that up to six senior ministers could be axed or moved.
Hastings MP Amber Rudd is set to stay as Home Secretary.
As MPs prepared to head back for Westminster following the Christmas break, she reaffirmed her intention to lead the Conservatives into the next general election.
At the same time she acknowledged that the manifesto pledge to give MPs the opportunity to reverse the ban on hunting with hounds was one of the issues which cost them votes at last June’s disastrous snap election when her Commons majority was wiped out.
“My own view hasn’t changed but as Prime Minister my job isn’t just about what I think about something, it’s actually about looking at what the view of the country is,” she told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show.
“I think there was a clear message about that and that’s why I say there won’t be a vote on fox hunting during this parliament.”
Downing Street sources indicated the reshuffle was expected to be conducted over two days, with junior and middle-ranking ministerial appointments likely to continue into Tuesday.
It is likely to represent her biggest overhaul of her top team since she appointed her first Cabinet on entering No 10 in 2016.
She made only limited changes among her senior ministers following the election in June having seen her position badly weakened by the loss of her overall majority in the Commons.
It is thought her most senior ministers – including Chancellor Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Brexit Secretary David Davis – will remain in their current posts.
However, Education Secretary Justine Greening, Conservative Party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin, Business Secretary Greg Clark and the Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom are among those reported to be vulnerable.
Source: The Argus