United Kingdom is seriously preparing for Brexit without trade deal

Conservative Party chairman Sir Patrick Mc Loughlin is widely expected to be sacked

Conservative Party chairman Sir Patrick Mc Loughlin is widely expected to be sacked

May's Cabinet reshuffle was more limited than expected with the big names all keeping their jobs, including the gaffe-prone Boris Johnson keeping his position as Foreign Secretary, the newly promoted Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson staying on and Philip Hammond hanging on as Chancellor of the Exchequer after his Autumn Statement, or budget, was received well by Tory MPs. In pools of candidates for promotion is Jeremy Hunt, health-care owner since 2012 and longest-running minister, despite criticism of crisis experienced by public hospitals this winter.

May hoped the shakeup would help her reassert authority ahead of crunch Brexit negotiations this year, and following a torrid 2017 in which she lost her parliamentary majority in a snap election last summer.

Former immigration minister Lewis, who also takes the title of minister without portfolio, said he was "honoured" to be appointed party chairman less than eight years after arriving in the House of Commons as MP for Great Yarmouth in 2010.

Brandon Lewis has been named the new party chairman, amid farcical scenes which saw the Tories' official Twitter account incorrectly announce that the job had gone to Chris Grayling.

In a letter sent to May first reported by the Financial Times, Davis said the European Union was damaging United Kingdom interests in some of its planning for no deal and that its advice to businesses didn't take into account the possible transition period between 2019-2020.

The idea is to promote new figures from Conservative Party and convey impression that, despite disastrous last months, Theresa May continues to command and be authoritative.

But alongside Leadsom, Education Secretary Justine Greening, Conservative Party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin and Business Secretary Greg Clark are vulnerable.

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"No wonder Theresa May's struggling to negotiate Brexit - she can't even organise a reshuffle", opposition Labour MP Stephen Kinnock swiftly tweeted.

She has already had three secretaries of state for work and pensions, and as many justice secretaries, since she became premier in 2016.

Downing Street said that as a result of the reshuffle there are now more women attending Cabinet, more female ministers and more members of the Government from a black and minority ethnic background than before.

While viewed as a chance at a fresh start, the reshuffle brings risks of upsetting the delicate balance of eurosceptic and pro-European ministers.

After starting the two-year Brexit process in March last year, Britain struck a deal in December on the financial settlement with Brussels, as well as expatriate rights and the Irish border.

Ms May was reportedly set to create a new "no-deal" cabinet post on Monday with a responsibility to prepare for a possible breakdown in the talks. 61-year-old pro-Remain Damian Green, the former first secretary of state whose resignation prompted the reshuffle, was replaced by 61-year-old pro-Remain former Europe Minister David Lidington.

Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire, who failed to secure a deal to restore the power-sharing government in Belfast after it collapsed a year ago, stepped down for health reasons. Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, replaced him.

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