This Cabinet reshuffle is interesting from an employment law perspective.
The casualties so far are:
Dominic Grieve (Attorney General)
The Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP (Minister without Portfolio)
The Rt Hon David Willetts MP (Minister of State, BIS)
The Rt Hon Alan Duncan MP (Minister of State, DFID)
The Rt Hon Hugh Robertson MP (Minister of State, FCO)
The Rt Hon Sir George Young Bt MP, (Chief Whip and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury)
The Rt Hon Andrew Robathan MP (Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office)
The Rt Hon Gregory Barker MP (Minister of State, DECC).
To borrow a phrase once used by a HR Director at a well known PLC, the victims of the re-shuffle appear to be mainly “male, pale and stale.”
Those achieving advancement and promotion appear not to fit that description.
With the re-shuffle widely being trumpeted as Cameron’s way of appealing to the female demographic where his support is low, the re-shuffle and the way it has been spun does appear to be at the very least an interesting take on the Equality Act 2010 where positive discrimination is only permitted in certain prescribed circumstances around genuine occupational requirements.There is always a fine line between addressing discrimination where it exists by promoting and recruiting under-represented groups and actively discriminating against the advantaged groups-here men.
It’s not an easy issue to tackle. There are still vast swathes of public and private life (eg Board Directors at PLC) where female participation is low. It is remarkable that in an advanced democracy we have had one female prime minister and no prime ministers from a BME background.
A more gender balanced executive can only be a good thing and let’s hope a more diverse cabinet brings with it a more diverse range of viewpoints and experiences. Not everyone may agree – has this re-shuffle crossed the line? Should positive discrimination be allowed? Has David Cameron cynically sought electoral advantage or boldly addressed an inequality? Have your say below the line.