The surprise resignation of William Hague as Britain’s foreign minister is just one of the many shake-up’s facing Prime Minister David Cameron’s Cabinet.
Hague was the Conservatives top diplomat for four years, he will now be succeeded by Philipp Hammond.
Hague noted some of his shared views with Hammond, who has long headed the defence ministry and is a prominent eurosceptic, saying:
“Philip Hammond, David Cameron and I all have exactly the same policy on Europe. We want to improve Britain’s relationship with the EU and then hold a referendum on staying in or leaving the European Union. We’re all committed to that, the Conservative Party is more united on this issue than it has been actually in the whole time that I’ve been in politics, in all that long time. So, we’re all going to be campaigning for that, and I know Philip Hammond is going to be committed to that.”
Cameron’s sweeping Cabinet reshuffle comes ahead of next years general elections and just two months after his party was soundly beaten at the European elections by eurosceptic party UKIP.
May’s European elections,saw many British votes go to the UK Independence Party, led by Nigel Farage. The party has campaigned on a pledge to leave the EU.
Cameron’s latest Cabinet appointments are also being seen as a rebuttal to criticisms that he has too few women in senior posts-
Female ministers will now make up six of the new 23-person Cabinet, compared with three of 22 before. Hague, who left voluntarily, spoke of “a balance between experience and renewal”, and giving “extremely talented people their opportunity”.
Cameron failed to stop euro-federalist Jean-Claude Juncker from becoming the new President of the European Commission. Now he is scrambling to reshape Britain’s EU ties before giving voters a membership referendum in 2017 — if he is re-elected next year.