A former nurse has been tipped to replace Jeremy Hunt as Health secretary when Theresa May reshuffles the cabinet later today.
Anne Milton, 62, worked as a district nurse for the NHS for 25 years, as well as with the Royal College of Nursing and the National Childbirth Trust.
She was elected as the MP for Guildford in 2005, and was swiftly promoted as the Shadow Minister for Tourism in 2006 and then the Shadow Health Minister in 2007.
Mrs Milton is also the incumbent Minister for Women, and a Minister of State for Education, having held both those positions since 2017.
Mrs May hopes that Mrs Milton, who reportedly has the nickname ‘Scary Spice’ in Parliament for looking fierce on the benches, can calm the NHS crisis as well as affording her some stability on her front bench as the former nurse has never rebelled against the Tories when voting in the Commons.
The former health worker emerged well from the 2009 expenses scandal, as she was dubbed a ‘saint’ by The Telegraph for not claiming money on her second home despite Westminster being 30 miles away from her constituency.
Government sources have said that despite the shake-up, the ‘big four’- Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor Phillip Hammond, Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Brexit Minister David Davis are secure in their cabinet positions.
Jeremy Hunt, the current Health Secretary is tipped to be May’s second-in-command and become the new First Minister for State following Damian Green’s who was forced to resign last month after admitting he lied over allegations pornographic material was found on his Commons computer during a police raid in 2008.
Mr Hunt is now the longest-serving Health Minister in history since he was promoted in September 2012.
For Labour, shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth warned it would be seen as a ‘betrayal’ of the thousands of patients left in the back of ambulances as they awaited admission to hospital if Mr Hunt was promoted.
Another name in the frame for First Minister is Transport Secretary Chris Grayling who was one of the first pro-Brexit ministers to back Mrs May when she stood for the Conservative leadership in 2016.
Current reports have suggested this could be May’s most extensive change-up in her top team since entering Downing Street in 2016.
In a weekend television interview with Andrew Marr she defended the way the NHS had coped with the pressures but admitted ‘nothing’s perfect’ and that more needed to be done.
She said: ‘Obviously, Damian Green’s departure before Christmas means that some changes do have to be made, and I will be making some changes.’
After running a poorly received campaign at a national election last year that badly damaged her authority, May is leading a delicately balanced minority government tasked with delivering Britain’s exit from the European Union.
As May seeks to assert her authority, those said to be vulnerable include Education Secretary Justine Greening, Conservative Party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin, Business Secretary Greg Clark and the Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom.
The Ministerial reshuffle is expected to continue into Tuesday as the more junior posts are reallocated.
It is thought that Mrs May will take the opportunity to bring forward some more junior ministers, with Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis and Justice Minister Dominic Raab among those tipped for promotion.