* PM Cameron conducts biggest jobs reshuffle since 2010
* Eurosceptic Philip Hammond becomes Foreign Secretary
* Right-wing ally Michael Gove sacked as Education Secretary
* William Hague resigns as UK's top diplomat
(Updates after end of shake-up, provides new figures for women
participation, adds Hammond comment)
By Andrew Osborn and William James
LONDON, July 15 British Prime Minister David
Cameron on Tuesday pushed through his biggest government
shake-up since coming to power in 2010, promoting women and
Eurosceptics to senior roles in an appeal to voters in next
May's national election.
In one surprise development, William Hague, Britain's most
senior diplomat for the past four years, voluntarily stood down
allowing Cameron to appoint Philip Hammond, the defence minister
and a prominent Eurosceptic, to the influential post.
Michael Gove, a longstanding Cameron ally and one of his
party's most prominent right-wing ideologues, was sacked as
After last minute adjustments, women will now make up five
of the 22-person Cabinet, compared with three before. A further
three senior female politicians will also have the right to
attend Cabinet meetings, up from two previously.
Other women politicians were promoted to junior ministerial
With his ruling Conservatives trailing the opposition Labour
party in opinion polls by up to seven percentage points, the
changes were seen as an attempt by Cameron to address criticism
that his government was dominated by white, privately-educated
"This is very much a reshuffle based on the upcoming
election. Out with the old, in with the new; an attempt to
emphasise diversity and put a few more Eurosceptic faces to the
fore," said Matthew Ashton, a politics specialist at Nottingham
Hammond's pick as foreign secretary stoked speculation that
Cameron was trying to give his part of the coalition a more
Eurosceptic tinge to please an unruly wing of the party and to
counter an electoral threat from the anti-EU UK Independence
Party which won Britain's European elections in May.
The choice of Hammond sends a powerful signal to Britain's
European allies. In 2013, he said that if the European Union
failed to change and agree new terms for Britain's membership he
would rather leave the bloc.
He declined to repeat that opinion when asked on Tuesday,
saying he was confident he could help Cameron secure
Meanwhile, the shake-up, or reshuffle as it is traditionally
known, saw Ken Clarke, a minister without portfolio and the
Conservative's government's most pro-EU member, sacked.
Cameron has promised to try to reshape Britain's EU ties if
re-elected next year before giving voters a membership
referendum, something opinion polls show could be close.
Cameron appointed Jonathan Hill, a lord, to become Britain's
next European commissioner. Hill, who is not well-known, had
previously coordinated the government's business in the upper
house of parliament.
Hill is in favour of holding a referendum in the event of any
future transfer of further powers to Brussels, but Nick Clegg,
the deputy prime minister and leader of the pro-EU junior
coalition Liberal Democrats, had to agree his appointment.
Clegg's aides had previously said he would not approve
anyone with overly strong Eurosceptic views. But Hill may
struggle to get a prime portfolio on the Commission.
George Osborne, the finance minister and one of Cameron's
closest allies, kept his job, reflecting the fact that his
economic stewardship is seen as a potential election winner.
Michael Fallon, formerly a junior energy minister and
someone who has said his party should campaign for Britain to
leave the EU if it doesn't get major reforms, was appointed as
the country's new defence secretary.
One of the biggest surprises for Britons, however, was
Cameron's decision to sack Gove, whose radical reforms to the
education sector have provoked anger among teachers.
He will instead become the Conservative party's chief whip,
a role that entails ensuring lawmakers vote in the way the party
Hague, the outgoing foreign minister, will assume a more
junior role that will involve him coordinating the government's
business in the lower house of parliament. He said he would also
step down as a member of parliament in May next year.
Cameron's decision to promote a raft of women addressed a
potentially electorally damaging perceived gender imbalance.
Nicky Morgan, minister for women and equalities, was
appointed education secretary, while Liz Truss was appointed as
secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs in
the place of Owen Paterson.
The Labour party has repeatedly criticised Cameron for what
it says is his "women problem" - a relative lack of females in
top cabinet jobs.
Labour on Tuesday said Cameron had not promoted enough women
and called his jobs reshuffle the "massacre of the moderates,"
saying the changes reflected his failure to reform his party.
"In a desperate attempt to shore up his support within his
own Party, he undertakes a reshuffle which has seen centrists
kicked out while right-wingers have been promoted," it said.
"This massacre of the moderates shows the extent of David
(Additional reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Guy
Faulconbridge and Jeremy Gaunt)