Cameron to shake up UK gov't as economy stalls
LONDON, England (AP) — With a stalled economy and a series of humbling policy reversals buffeting his two-year old coalition government, British Prime Minister David Cameron was preparing today to make the first radical overhaul to his ministerial team since taking office.
Out of favour veterans and a host of middle-ranking ministers are expected to be shifted to allow Cameron to promote a clutch of younger legislators, while prominent Liberal Democrat David Laws may return after he quit the Cabinet in 2010 — just weeks after taking his post — in an allowances scandal.
Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, whose Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties formed Britain's coalition government in May 2010 after an inconclusive national election, are expected to announce a new team on Tuesday.
Britain's economy has slipped back into recession for the first time since 2009 — with some analysts suggesting the government's programme of 81 billion pounds (US$130 billion) of public spending cuts is choking off the prospects for growth.
A disastrous annual budget in March led to a series of policy reversals, denting the government's credibility. Treasury chief George Osborne famously had to ditch a planned sales levy on hot savoury snacks amid a public revolt.
Last month, Cameron abandoned a pledge to make sweeping reforms to Britain's unelected House of Lords because of fierce opposition from members of his own party.
With pressure building on a number of issues, Conservative Party lawmaker Tim Yeo said last week that Cameron "must ask himself whether he is man or mouse."
Cameron must decide whether to ditch his friend and closest political ally George Osborne as Chancellor of the Exchequer, the senior minister in charge of the Treasury.
Osborne has taken the heat for the bungled budget and over the failure of the government's policies to lift the gloomy economic outlook.