THERESA MAY undermined senior ministers yesterday by announcing that she will personally oversee their departments.
The Prime Minister is to chair three new Cabinet committees — on the economy and industrial strategy, exiting the European Union and international trade, and social reform.
The decision will cause tension within the government if Ms May, who is renowned for her attention to detail in policy, attempts to micromanage major departments.
There were suggestions that she was taking personal responsibility for Brexit to pre-empt a potential turf war between Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Brexit Secretary David Davis and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox.
But a spokesman for Ms May insisted: “It’s because the issues that they (the committees) will be discussing go to the heart of her agenda, the top priorities for this government and the challenges that we face as a country.”
Convening her cabinet for the first time at Downing Street, Ms May told ministers that “politics is not a game” and the government will be “defined by the social reform that we take.”
She added: “The decisions that we take around this table affect people’s day-to-day lives and we must do the right thing and take the right decisions for the future of this country.
Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth said: “The early signs for Theresa May’s administration are not universally good.
“Her first acts were to abolish the department tasked with tackling climate change, to put someone who wanted to scrap the Department for International Development in charge of it and to fill the rest of her Cabinet with a variety of right-wingers, failures and disgraced returnees from the back benches.
“Changing the faces at the top of the Tory Party will do nothing for working people let down by this government. We need a change of direction to put ordinary people first.”