Clarke loses job in cabinet reshuffle

HOME Secretary Charles Clarke has left the Government and will return to the backbenches.Mr Clarke - who has been under pressure after it emerged hundreds of foreign prisoners had been released from jail without being considered for deportation - is the major casualty of Tony Blair's cabinet reshuffle.

HOME Secretary Charles Clarke has left the Government and will return to the backbenches.

Mr Clarke - who has been under pressure after it emerged hundreds of foreign prisoners had been released from jail without being considered for deportation - is the major casualty of Tony Blair's cabinet reshuffle.

Downing Street said Mr Clarke, MP for Norwich South, had turned down a series of other jobs.

He is being replaced as Home Secretary by John Reid, currently in charge of defence.


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Mr Clarke said he did not agree with Mr Blair's decision but "entirely accepted his right to make it".

John Prescott will remain as Deputy Prime Minister and Labour Party deputy leader, but will no longer have his own department. Geoff Hoon is made Minister for Europe with a seat in the Cabinet and Margaret Beckett is to become Foreign Secretary, replacing Jack Straw who has been shifted to Leader of the House of Commons.

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Ruth Kelly leaves education to take over John Prescott's former responsibilities, and is replaced by Alan Johnson.

David Milliband becomes Rural Affairs Secretary, and Douglas Alexander the new Transport Secretary.

Patricia Hewitt and Tessa Jowell remain at Health and Culture, Media and Sport respectively. John Hutton also stays put at Work and Pensions as does Hilary Benn at International Development.

The major reshuffle was widely expected following Labour's poor showing the local elections, losing more than 250 council seats - mostly to the Conservatives.

For full reaction to the reshuffle and local election results, see Saturday's EADT.

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