PANIC RESHUFFLE! – while the rats continue to leave sinking ship

Postal workers in the front line of the strike against Brown’s privatisation policies – they are determined to defend the Royal Mail
Postal workers in the front line of the strike against Brown’s privatisation policies – they are determined to defend the Royal Mail

Prime Minister Brown held a press conference late afternoon yesterday to announce the cabinet changes in a hurried reshuffle following the resignations of five of his ministers.

He said he was here to stay as prime minister but while he was speaking two more cabinet ministers announced they were quitting government.

Brown told reporters: ‘I won’t walk away. If I didn’t think I was the right person, leading the right team, I would not be standing here.’

Restating his allegiance to capitalism, he added that ‘you have to put the country first, before self and even before party.’

He said he intended to press on with ‘getting the economy out of this recession, cleaning up parliament and pushing ahead with reforms’.

As he was speaking Employment Minister Tony McNulty resigned from government as did Europe Minister Caroline Flint.

Brown was asked about her resignation and revealed that he had brought in Glenys Kinnock to replace Flint.

Earlier yesterday Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon and Defence Secretary John Hutton quit government.

They were followed by the resignation with immediate effect of Norwich North Labour MP Ian Gibson, which will mean a by-election.

Lord Adonis replaces Hoon as Transport Secretary while Hoon has agreed to be Brown’s European policy adviser ahead of the Climate Change talks in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

Brown was forced into an early reshuffle in the wake of Defence Secretary John Hutton’s and Work and Pensions secretary James Purnell’s resignations.

The reshuffle saw ex-post union leader Alan Johnson moved from Health Secretary to replace Jacqui Smith as new Home Secretary and Andy Burnham moved from Culture Secretary to become the new Health Secretary.

Universities Minister John Denham replaces Hazel Blears as new Communities Secretary.

Junior minister, Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth replaces Hutton as new Defence Secretary.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper is replacing Purnell as Work and Pensions Secretary.

Her husband Education Secretary Ed Balls keeps his job as does Chancellor Alistair Darling, Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Justice Secretary Jack Straw, Leader of the House of Commons Harriet Harman and Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy.

Others keeping their jobs are Energy Secretary Ed Miliband, Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward and International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander.

Liam Byrne takes over as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Ben Bradshaw as Culture Secretary.

Brown is beefing up the Business and Enterprise department. Mandelson keeps his job as Business and Enterprise Secretary and businessman Sir Alan Sugar is being made up to a peer to become a new ‘business and enterprise tzar’.

Peter Hain has been brought back into the cabinet as Welsh Secretary.

• The pound fell against the dollar and euro, hit by uncertainty over the UK political turmoil.