Former education secretary Estelle Morris has made a surprise return to government as minister for the arts in the latest move in Tony Blair's cabinet reshuffle.
Veteran Labour politician Michael Meacher has left his job as environment minister while Margaret Hodge has been appointed to the new role of Minister of State for Children.
John Reid takes up the Health Secretary post after Alan Milburn resigned on Thursday to spend more time with his family.
Peter Hain becomes the Leader of the House of Commons in Mr Reid's place.
What is your reaction to the moves into and out of Tony Blair's cabinet?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:
Why is everyone in this country so afraid of change? We never seem to have a positive attitude about anything. Last week it was no EU constitution, the week before keep the pound, this week don't mess with our constitution, next week we'll be back to no to GM trials and this time next year we'll be criticising the London Olympic bid! Being a traditionalist just means having a lack of vision. Things change, that's a fact. It's time to start embracing some of these changes; maybe for once the UK might get excited about something!
It's time to start embracing some of these changes
Barry Connelly, UK
While the creation of a supreme court is a welcome increase in the independence of the judiciary, the government's proposal to abolish the office of Lord Chancellor smacks of pandering to republican leftists and grey technocrats. While I agree that the Lord Chancellor should no longer participate in the judiciary or the cabinet, clearly the office should remain de facto speaker of the Lords and retain official custody of the Great Seal.
Jordan Ross, United States
I don't have any attachment to sacks of wool or wigs. However, Blair's style of leadership is moving from the presidential to the dictatorial. The nation and its people are not his personal property. I am in favour of a written constitution (preferably based on the US model) with appropriate checks and balances to protect us from the abuses of power that this government is increasingly resorting to.
Ewan Slater, England
This is yet more proof, if more were needed, of a dangerously moribund government bereft of direction.
Christopher Warwick, England
As usual with the prime minister, it is not necessarily what has been decided that people are complaining about, but the way that it was decided. No consultation or debate and the complete sidelining of parliament in the decision making process. For a man who prided himself on government by the people for the people, it is now government by me.
No consultation or debate and the complete sidelining of parliament in the decision making process
Why all the fuss about the Lord Chancellor? Why should the law be exempt from reform? The law needs modernising. It has escaped reform for too long. Let's hope this is the start of simplification, use of accessible technology to speed up processes - maybe get sentencing consistent across the land.
I think some of the most breathtaking arrogance I've ever seen has come from this page. I didn't live through the 600s, so perhaps some of the people defending the "ancient" (the word many of its supporters have used) post of Lord Chancellor could tell us why something conceived 1400 years ago is apparently necessary today, in a society that bears no resemblance whatsoever to the situation it was created for? Removal of all hereditary and appointed political posts will finally move this country in the democratic direction we have been urging so many others to follow for so long.
Removal of hereditary and appointed political posts will finally move this country in a democratic direction
Come on England. The sooner Blair is consigned to the "failed as PM" file the sooner England can regain her independence from the States.
Des Currie, Umdloti, South Africa
To Des Currie: What do you mean by come on England? This is Britain, which incorporates England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Ronald McKenzie, UK
I assume that, next time there is a reshuffle the PM will abolish the Royal Family and make himself President. The man's arrogance and ineptitude leave me speechless!!
Bob C, London, England
The manner of Blair's reshuffle demonstrates the breathtaking arrogance of the Islington intellectual, who has no time for tradition and feels no connection with England's past history. Parliament is seen as an inconvenient talking shop to be humoured from time to time.
Ben ford, U.K.
It's about time that we got rid of the silk tight and wig brigade. The Lord Chancellor's post and office has no place in a modern 21st century country. Who do people in high dudgeon think appoints the Lord Chancellor in the first place? It's the Prime Minister of the day and NOT just Tony Blair; John Major did it, Margaret Thatcher, Jim Callaghan, Harold Wilson Harold Macmillan, etc. etc.
It's about time that we got rid of the silk tight and wig brigade
Mick Ames, UK
The changes Tony Blair introduced in his reshuffle undoubtedly bring greater justice to the UK. But the way they were introduced is further evidence of the incredible ignorance and arrogance by Number 10 towards Parliament and the British people.
When I came to the UK from Italy I asked a friend what is stopping the government from taking anti-constitutional decisions in a country that doesn't have a written constitution. The response was "...we just don't do this sort of things in Great Britain, it just doesn't happen". Oh, yes it does...
I think that the abolition of the Lord Chancellor is totally disgraceful. It's not just the legal system that the Lord Chancellor represents. Is anything sacred? Will the Monarchy be next?
Mrs Sylvia Appleyard, England, Great Britain
Every Prime Minister I can remember has created and abolished Government departments as they have seen fit. Every PM has appointed members of the House of Lords to ministerial (including cabinet) posts.
As for complaints that the leader of the House of Commons is a Government minister, that has been the case for as long as I can remember - and, no doubt, for a good deal longer than that.
With the proposed abolition of the Lord Chancellor's post and the moves towards regional government it's good to see Blair implementing what was in the manifesto. Particularly as it was the Liberal Democrat manifesto.
What difference will any of this make?
In the final analysis all it amounts to is shifting around chairs on the deck of the Titanic.
Darren Stephens, UK
It is nice to see that Estelle Morris has been put in charge of a department which is of no real significance to the majority of the population. Now if only there were other such pointless departments to put Alistair Darling, John Reid and John Prescott into.
Now if only there were other such pointless departments to put Alistair Darling, John Reid and John Prescott into
Karen Skerritt, UK
I'll say it again - Tony Blair is the most dangerous political leader that England has had since Oliver Cromwell. It is a scandal that he can just abolish important posts without any consultation, and an even bigger one that he can appoint unelected cronies to such hugely important positions. If our American cousins are so happy with Blair then will they please take him off our hands before he completely wrecks this country.
So Estelle Morris is forgiven and returns to government. It seems that Blair wants to be the redeemer as well as king and president.
Chris Klein, UK
It is incredible that a government often accused of 'spin' can make such a mess of what should, on the face of it, be a popular measure. A constitutional affairs ministry should be in place to oversee the changes regarding the judiciary, local parliaments, abolition of the Lords and its replacement with something representative. So who does Tony put in charge? An unelected Lord, and a former flatmate to boot who has never held elected office. Oh dear! Come on Mr Blair, you can do better than this.
Two things about Estelle Morris when she was last in the government:
(i) she was not up to the job, (ii) she was decent enough to admit it. The question now is are we better off with an honest politician, or a competent one?
Paul Rowlands, United Kingdom
What is all this nonsense about "making the judiciary more independent"? Nobody has ever accused the judiciary of being subservient to any government - those who spend time making a big issue of the Lord Chancellor being a member of the Cabinet are theorising based purely upon their own opinions and not upon how the system has actually worked in practice. No, this move is about politicising the judiciary in favour of the Government; ministers are frequently complaining about their decisions being overruled by the courts and this is payback time.
This move is about politicising the judiciary in favour of the Government
The proposal to abolish the post of Lord Chancellor is quite scandalous. It is one thing to alter the system for appointing QCs and judges and to remove the Lord Chancellor's right to sit as an appeal judge. It is quite another to interfere with his constitutional role as speaker of the House of Lords and as Her Majesty's right hand man in dealings with Parliament and with the Privy Council. These are ancient and important parts of our Constitution and should not be fiddled with by shallow politicians who are here today and gone tomorrow,
Rex Wait, U.K.
The creation of a UK Supreme Court is long overdue. There should be a very clear separation of powers and functions of government and judiciary. Also UK is long overdue for the abolition of "The House of Lords" and its replacement should be "The Senate of the United Kingdom". This would bring Westminster into line with Australia, and the United States who have a fair and tested house of review that focuses only or review of legislation. In my opinion The House of Lords is seen to have conflicts of interest in their place in the Westminster system of government. Getting the system of government back into the right gear would be a step to putting the "Gr! eat" back into Britain.
Darren Leer, Australia
Consider the new "ministry of justice". Aside from its Orwellian overtones, it represents another step towards the unification of the three arms of government. Blair, the Executive, already has almost total control of the Legislature, parliament. By creating this new ministry he hopes to gain control of the judicial branch as well. We may all come to regret this reshuffle when Blair can make the law, approve the law and enforce the law, all by himself.
We may all come to regret this reshuffle
Clearly Blair is trying to drag Britain into the 21st century even though it is kicking and screaming. Necessary to complete the country's integration into the European Union and consolidate our institutions with theirs, these changes are fraught with difficulty. New Labour is no less conservative than any other long established organization. While the changes may ultimately be good for Britain, Tony Blair is clearly losing his grip when those opposite him may be his opponents his enemies are all around him. This may be Blair's biggest test and where he makes his mark as one of the great political leaders of our times.
Gerry O'Neill, USA
The most damning indictment of this government's set of priorities is that transport, despite the reality of trying to travel by road and rail in Britain today, is deemed an unworthy cause to have a full time minister. Alastair Darling can now, amazingly, speak on the affairs of Scotland in the House whilst gridlock and paralysis affect the arteries of national communication. You couldn't make it up!
Christopher Phillips, England
Whilst superficially separating the government from the judiciary is a good thing, the example of the US shows how a supreme court system has been totally corrupted by the politicians, where judges are appointed purely on their political bias and irrespective of their legal abilities. This has happened to the extent that a minority president is installed against the wishes of the people, by politically and totally partisan "judges".
Robert Reid, U.K.
The problem with our country is that there is no formal Constitution no matter how many times people + politicians go on about "constitutional affairs". We are one of only a handful of countries without one - we should create one as a matter of urgency!
Matt Lewis, England
Your Mr Blair does not indulge in whingeing about is wrong with the country - he takes action, using whatever lawful means are at his disposal as prime minister. Although a politician by trade, he has evolved into a leader of vision and a statesman, who will make Britain a model of success in the 21st century. As a conservative of many years I offer Mr Blair my congratulations and support.
Is it a coincidence that an anagram of the Department of Constitutional Affairs is the Department of Falsification, No Trust?
Department of Constitutional Affairs? What's that all about? It's about diluting this country's constitution in his race to take us into the federal Europe, that this government says doesn't exist! Devolved powers to the regions, dump the pound, diluted powers to the House of Lords. What next Tony? The monarchy?
Why are people worried about abolishing the posts of Scottish and Welsh Secretaries? Both these parts of the UK are substantially over-represented in Westminster by virtue of having disproportionate numbers of MPs and public expenditure. The only reason for not making changes more radical still is to preserve left wing majorities.
Why are people worried about abolishing the Scottish and Welsh Secretaries?
It seems wrong to me that one man, the prime minister, can restructure the whole system, abolishing an ancient office at a stroke without the approval of Parliament, let alone the public.
Even if the changes are right, the means of effecting them is not.
The US president couldn't do anything like that without approval from the Senate at least or possibly a constitutional amendment.
It's about time we had a proper written constitution in my view so everyone, including the prime minister, knows where he/she stands.
John Collins, UK
Until the Tories present a credible alternative, Tony Blair could safely imitate Caligula and appoint a horse to his cabinet.
Lewis Moonie resigning his post as veterans minister, did it have anything to do with a Gulf war veteran winning a high court judgment against the MOD, that Gulf war syndrome does exist, when for years Moonie has stated it does not?
Christina Banks, England
Estelle Morris is one of the few politicians that were truthful that she could deal with the job when she was teaching. Therefore, I think just because she wasn't suited to the minister job she SHOULD be assigned to something else. As we all are, if your no good at one thing try something else! I welcome her, so come on Estelle - SHOW US!!
Come on Estelle - SHOW US!!
What's next? Stephen Byers to return as Mayor of London?
The appointment of Lord Falconer (who oversaw the Dome fiasco) is a real affront to the electorate. Rewarding failure Tony? Or simply rewarding an old flatmate?
Jake S, UK
The Lord Chancellor has left sounding like a voice of reason and constitutional propriety, and taking his massive pension with him (not a reward for failure, obviously). The man who was in charge of the Dome is now in charge of the Constitution; the woman who knew something about education but couldn't cope with the education brief is now in charge of the arts, which she says she doesn't know about; a Scotsman is charge of the NHS in England; nobody knows who is in responsible for Scotland and Ireland; the Leader of the House of Commons is a government minister; not a great prospect is it..?
Neil Howlett, England
What a sour load of people we are. I want to thank those choosing to leave government posts, and I am proud of Alan Milburn when he puts his family first after giving us all.
Turning to Estelle Morris, just how refreshing is it to see honesty in this lady? I hope we have the vision to see why we should be welcoming this new chance to give it another try.
I am proud to live in this country and look forward to us having even more public engagement. I see the next ten years being extremely important, so let us get the new people in place, give them an honest chance and all proudly move forward with dignity
To compound the felony, why did not Tony Blair make John Cleese Minister for Funny Walks, with a seat in the cabinet?
Blair is not a perfect leader, but his rapid decision making on a wide array of issues is to be congratulated and supported. And while we do not all agree with his decisions, he is steering our country into the 21st Century, and by abolishing the archaic role of Lord Chancellor to the dark ages, we can now move forwards into creating an independent Supreme Court.
Blair is not perfect, but his rapid decision making is to be congratulated
Peter Cooper, UK
Out goes Michael Meacher. In come GM seeds from America by the truckload. Goodbye organic farming industry, and future prosperity for many farmers. In comes homogeneity and pesticides.
Gary Miller, I agree with you completely. I feel so helpless against the inevitable march of GM stamping on our emerging organic farming industry. Michael Meacher was our only ally in the government and I fear for the future integrity of British agriculture and our right to choose what we eat.
Did someone say getting rid of the Lord Chancellor is more of a separation of government and the judiciary? Pardon me, but the government now being in the position to appoint a purely political Cabinet minister without legal qualifications or experience to oversee the legal system smacks of clearly subsuming the independence of the judiciary. The balance of power into the single arm of the executive is nearly complete (House of Lords becoming Blair appointed puppets, now the judiciary) and did anyone vote for that?
Yet again this government makes sweeping constitutional change without a mandate and without planning for what follows - who is going to select the commission which appoints to the "supreme court"? Is this going to be the same farce as we got with the so-called "people's peers"? Surely a change of this magnitude should either have been in their election manifesto or have substantial cross-party support following a detailed debate?
A change of this magnitude should either have been in their election manifesto or have substantial cross-party support following a detailed debate
This is great! The abolition of the Lord Chancellor's Dept and the Lord Chancellor position is very positive. This archaic position, combining the legislature and the judiciary more closely than in any other democracy, has led to confusion of its own sort that must be recognised. The new proposal is a great opportunity for increasing institutional clarity and transparency in the field of law making, interpretation and implementation. The characters that run the new department will have to prove themselves up to the task.
I would love to be able to afford to quit my job and spend more time with my young family, but, as a nurse, I have hardly got enough money to live on working 50 hours a week, let alone have the option of going part-time. Bring in someone who actually respects the NHS and what it can do for the country, not a Scottish MP who, lets face it, isn't going to care what happens to us.
What gives Tony Blair the right to unilaterally change our age-old institutions? Whether the Lord Chancellor's office needed replacement or overhaul is NOT the issue, my objection is he's done it without even consulting our representatives in Parliament let alone asking the voters.
The new Department of Constitutional Affairs appears curiously similar to the fictitious yet strangely loveable "Department of Administrative Affairs" as featured in "Yes Minister". Let's hope that the new department doesn't end up full of comfortable career civil servants expending a great deal of effort to ensure that nothing ever changes.
John Broome Saunders, UK
Well what a disappointment - No Ministry of Justice to take over the useless 'Home Office'. No Minister for Home Land Security - and the creation of a Department which has so many functions it hasn't got a hope. Especially with Lord 'Didn't I do Well' Falconer.
Come on Tony, stop playing with our democracy and start running the Country!
No wonder voters can't be bothered anymore. How many years is it before we can vote in a "pathetic" Tory party to moan about!
Paul, Reading, UK
So the Chancellor has gone on a whim? Too bad the House of Lords and monarchy didn't go the same way.
As for the rest of the shuffle I think Blair should take a good long look at the criticisms people are making and rectify his mistakes. In a democracy everyone should be accountable to the people they hold sway over.
The irony of Milburn's resignation has not been lost on hospital doctors. He has resigned in order to spend more time with his family, whilst trying to impose a contract on consultants which obliges them to work unsocial hours for no extra pay!
The irony of Milburn's resignation has not been lost on hospital doctors
Dr Richard Grunewald,
Although I no longer support Blair I am glad to see him at least trying to modernise the constitution. Getting rid of the Lord Chancellor and replacing it with a new department is at least pushing us into the 21st century whilst getting rid of old, unbalanced institutions that have been dominated by the upper class throughout history.
Stephen Thompson, England
Abolishing the office of Lord Chancellor is a shocking and cavalier action. Quite apart from the lack of consultation and the state of limbo it condemns many ancient and recent statutes; this erodes, yet again, our generation's connection with the past. Thus politics is made just that bit more unexciting and bland.
Andrew Stuart, UK
If a male member of Parliament cannot manage his job and spend time with his family, where does this leave the 'Blair Babes' who continually whinge that it is too hard for them. Perhaps the selection panels and the voters need to ensure that in future MPs are selected from those really dedicated to working for the country, even at the expense of a private life. Full timers, not part timers.
Voters need to ensure that in future MPs are selected from those really dedicated to working for the country
Barry P, England
What a dog's breakfast - a health minister who doesn't control health in his own constituency, Scotland and Wales without a voice at the top table (and the poor Welsh don't even have a binding legislature), two departments dealing with crime - I'm sure that'll be a very coordinated state of affairs - and the abolition of centuries old roles without a minute of debate in parliament.
P Carney, UK
If Mr Blair really wants to modernise the constitution, he should remove the ability of Prime Ministers to appoint cronies to the House of Lords and then put them in senior Cabinet positions. All very well to have "people's peers" but those who exercise positive power over the rest of us should be elected, not appointed.
Those who exercise positive power over the rest of us should be elected, not appointed
Rob Griffiths, Bournemouth, UK
Rob Griffiths, Bournemouth, UK
Where have all the women gone and the bright young things of 97? The buzz of something different in future has been replaced by older men in suits now and what percentage is unelected? And many with past failures to their name i.e. The Dome.
So long Lord Chancellor, an anachronism if there ever was one. Now we are aiming for a proper separation of the Judiciary, Executive and Parliament, how about a written constitution? Establish these roles fully in a public form we can all recognise and work with.
Lewis Graham, UK
So the Department of Constitutional Affairs is to be led by Lord Falconer. Is this the same Lord Falconer who brought us the Dome and the Criminal Records Bureau? With achievements like these to his credit we can only await future developments with trepidation.
David Lester, UK
It worries me that the posts of Welsh Secretary has been zapped and Wales diminished in perception by the Westminster government even though Peter Hain will no doubt be a strong advocate. Both Wales and Scotland have devolution but Scotland has far more powers than us. It is common in the Welsh Assembly for statements to be made to the effect that a particular thorny problem is not in the remit of the Assembly but with Westminster. Now there will be no specific post holder to coordinate policy between Cardiff Bay and the Palace at Westminster.
It isn't democratic - but then should we be surprised? Constitutional Affairs to be led by an unelected crony? Well done, President Blair - another nail in the coffin of British democracy.
Another nail in the coffin of British democracy
Caroline Evans, Wales
The apparent haphazard arrangements for Scotland and Wales combined with John Reid's position re-igniting the West Lothian Question, makes more seriously several devolution questions which have just been bubbling away more quietly to this point.
I am not a hopeless conservative stuck in the past, but I think it's terrible that the Prime Minister can abolish a thousand-year old post and destroy our history on a whim.
The other problem that arises is that, as with the change to the House of Lords, what is put in its place seems rather half-baked. Although disagreements may arise concerning the validity of institutions such as the judiciary or hereditary peers depending on your political leaning, surely everyone agrees that if you're going to replace a thousand year old institution, consider carefully how you are going to do it!
Astounding. No, not the resignation of Milburn, but the flippant manner in which Blair can just sweep aside centuries of history by ending the position of Lord Chancellor. There's no "let's review the role of" or " this needs modernising". If ever there was an example of a man who wants to make his mark in history, here we have it. Sigh.
It can't be a good thing for people in these key roles in government to change so frequently. The issues that they have to grapple with day in day out surely would years to fully understand? It brings to my mind the Yes Minister series where the minister was merely a puppet of the civil service!!
One encouraging thing though, seeing Alan Milburn step down to create a better work life balance (if we can believe it!) will surely encourage other men to try and get a better balance without having to feel they are not macho or are quitting!
Neil Earnshaw, England
Constitutional affairs? In a country with an uncodified constitution? sounds like Blairism to me...
Does Alan Milburn know something we taxpayers don't?
Does it matter? New Labour is still the Tories in disguise, and the most impoverished in society will still lose out. Blair and his cronies will continue their love-in with the rich, to the detriment of us all, and continue their attack on civil liberties, regardless of who occupies which post.
Tony Kehoe, Japan
What none of your correspondents have noted so far is the big constitutional change this reshuffle initiates. To separate the powers of the judiciary from those of the executive and legislature is entirely welcome in my view. In this day and age the position of Lord Chancellor has become a political grotesque. I also welcome the suggestion of a supreme court, independently appointed but answerable to Parliament. You may not like Tony Blair but he has done more than any other politician in recent memory to drag the British Constitution into the 21st century.
To separate the powers of the judiciary from those of the executive and legislature is entirely welcome
John Cullen, UK
It doesn't matter who's who in the cabinet. Tony and his sidekick "Ali C" run the whole Government. The rest are just puppets.
It gives me great concern to hear that the posts of Scottish and Welsh secretaries have been abolished. Both these countries have some form of devolution, yet a large amount of the power is still retained at Westminster. There has to be adequate representation at Westminster for the Scots and Welsh, and by the abolition of these posts, areas that are purely Scottish or Welsh priorities will no doubt be sidelined, as there will be no actual person - diplomat to coordinate policy with the parliament or assembly.
Stewart Murphy, Scotland
It is absolutely unbelievable that this arrogant mockery of a British Prime Minister can abolish one of the most important offices in the land at a whim. Who does this man think he is and what checks can be imposed on his power? Never before in my lifetime have I witnessed such an arrogant man to occupy 10 Downing Street. I hope by the next election Labour sees fit to get rid of him.
What checks can be imposed on his power?
Michael Whitmore, UK
So Lord Falconer has been appointed to a new and very important position. To whom exactly is he accountable? Certainly not the House of Commons or the people. Blair should realise that he can't simply appoint his mates to Parliament and then the Cabinet; in a democracy he must choose from those we elect, and no one has ever elected Falconer.
Ross Johnson, UK
As a clinician in the NHS and myself the father of two young children, I can both understand Alan Milburn's position while regretting his decision. I think he has driven through a lot of important NHS initiatives which will have more apparent impact in the future...although it's sometimes been difficult to see where all the money has been going.
Dr Patrick McGuinness, UK
I find it extraordinary that the Prime Minister would abolish, at the stroke of a pen, one of the most ancient offices in this land with neither any warning or consultation. It smacks of the most supreme political arrogance and cynicism.
It smacks of the most supreme political arrogance and cynicism
Jason, London, UK
Well now there are no doubts about Blair's intention to destroy the NHS. Why else would he put a rottweiler like Dr Reid in charge?
Charles Moore, Scotland
So Irvine is going too... one wonders why he got the
job in the first place, he clearly wasn't up to it.
Will he be taking his pay-off in rolls of wallpaper?
Sadly, I suspect who leaves the Cabinet will raise less public interest than who leaves Big Brother's house. I think it sad that Millburn has gone but good that it seems to be for the right reasons.
Well done him - to spend more time with your family is a good thing.
But then they ALL say that don't they?
Tony Blair has no sense of irony. How else could he make an unelected crony the minister in charge of British democracy?
Harry Beresford, England
To the person who thinks Milburn was divisive wait until John Reid gets going! This cabinet change seems so far to lack ideas, it is the same people and having Falconer in high office is not good! (Think Dome!)
Wait until John Reid gets going!
Mr Blair also has a young family. Any chance he could follow Milburn's lead?
Cabinet reshuffle - Blair would do better to have a raffle!
Alan Milburn's resignation in order to spend more time with his young family is ironic. He refused to negotiate with specialists who worked 100 hours a week in their junior days, and spent little time with their young families. I know - I'm married to one!
Val Knight, England
Hospital consultants were rejoicing - until they found out John Reid was the replacement. I have no doubt that the consultant body will refuse to back down. The new health secretary needs to reopen negotiation fast if he wants reform.
The new health secretary needs to reopen negotiation fast if he wants reform
Dr Gita Ralleigh,
Who cares? He didn't do anything. Time for Tony Blair to do the same thing.
George Nipah, England
I dislike Mr Milburn for his handling of doctors' contracts but I recognise that he had a vision of a patient-focussed NHS. For that he should be applauded.
Robert Fox, Consultant Gynaecologist
Has nobody spotted the constitutional point here? You now have an MP for a Scottish constituency - Dr Reid - who is the Health Secretary for England and Wales, but nothing he does will affect the hospitals in his own constituency!
And here's me thinking that Alan Milburn didn't really have the UK's best interests at heart! Resigning is the greatest contribution he's made as health minister. I applaud his reasons and wish him the best with his family, but he's no loss to the NHS. Can't he convince the rest of the cabinet to follow suit?
Resigning is the greatest contribution he's made as health minister
Paul B, UK
Thank goodness that the most divisive health secretary since Kenneth Clarke has gone. He has managed to alienate almost the entire NHS from government during his tenure. Not many will be sorry to see him go.
Dr Andrew Curphey, England
After Estelle Morris' resignation because she wasn't enjoying her job, Alan Milburn's decision is a welcome sign that our politicians are becoming more human. Alan Milburn is entitled to a 'life' as much as the rest of us, so good for him. The Government needs to push on with reforms of the House of Commons to make it a more human working environment too.
Giles Goodall, Belgium
This is excellent news. His intransigence in refusing to reopen negotiations with the BMA over the consultant contract has raised hackles in consultants throughout the NHS. One hopes that his replacement will breathe a degree of freshness into the problem and allow negotiations to restart.
Dr Anthony Adams, UK
Can we reshuffle the Prime Minister?
They spend too much time playing cabinet games like this reshuffle - no wonder they have no time to do the country any good!
Ekla Cholo Re, UK
Two days after Pinky and Perky give their joint "We're completely united over the euro" press conference, another rat leaves the sinking ship...
Wise man - he has seen the writing on the wall, and we all know what it says - that no amount of money thrown at the NHS nor government target-massaging will disguise the fact that the NHS is unable to cope in its present form. Alan Milburn is obviously not prepared to act as fall guy when the government is held to account by the electorate over its much vaunted promises for the NHS.
He is obviously not prepared to act as fall guy when the government is held to account by the electorate over its much vaunted promises for the NHS
I am very sad. I feel that Alan Milburn has made this decision for personal reasons and we should all support his decision. But he has shocked all of us in Parliament and will be missed by many in the health sector and by those of us who saw his career as rising.
Tony's time is up. They are jumping off the ship fast.
A R, London, UK
So Mr Milburn has decided to resign as he finds that ministerial life deprives him of time with his young family. Ironic that a major reason that many rejected the new contract he tried to impose on NHS consultants is that it would have reduced the time they had to spend with their family. Alan Milburn was an effective and brilliant minister. As a parent I understand his reasons for wanting to spend time with the family before it is too late. It is tragic that our best and most able people cannot contribute because too many demands are made on them. We have lost Morris and Milburn, perhaps we should look at a new way of doing things before we lose any more.
Vivienne Windle, UK
Many in the NHS are celebrating today. Patients will get a better deal if they are treated by staff who are genuinely valued and rewarded appropriately for the demanding jobs that they do.
Many in the NHS are celebrating today
Dr Bruce Taylor,
Alan Milburn has been the best health secretary for a long time. He got things going for the NHS and it was successful.
Who cares? Ministers are only figureheads to announce headline grabbing improvement initiatives that do little to improve life, but create more paperwork and pointless jobs for advisors/ monitors. Most public services would improve if ministers stopped interfering, and let the people in the know actually run things.
John C, Bath, England
How ironic that Mr Milburn should resign because of the conflicting demands of family and work when the very same concerns were a major reason for many consultants rejecting their new contracts!
Dr Stephen Dowson, England
One down, how many more to go?!
Nice to see someone getting their priorities right and putting family first. After all, it's not as if his job was actually achieving anything anyway. Good luck to him!
It infuriates me that publicly elected MPs resign from cabinet positions for what are quoted as pretty insignificant reasons. Many respected people in this country would do anything to be able to stand as a member of the cabinet and be involved in key decisions which affect every person in the UK. If he has to choose between his job and a young family, why indeed did he have children? I believe he should be forced to leave his family until the next general election, thus concentrating his time on serving his country.
He should leave his family, thus concentrating his time on serving his country
One wonders, did he jump or was he pushed? And even more importantly, who will take over his mantle?
Caroline Kubilius, UK
Milburn is too much of a ladder-climber for this to be a 'more time with the family' deal. Expect him to be part of the next leadership challenge.
Devon Bridgnorth, UK
Thank goodness he's gone. He has alienated most NHS staff and overseen a huge increase in paperpushing.
Dr Joe McDonald, UK
Try musical chairs - different formula, same outcome, more fun!
Alan Milburn is my MP, (and a damn good one at that!) and does have a young family. I can entirely understand his reasons for leaving the cabinet, as can any sensible person.
Harriet Clews, UK
Let's just hope they all shuffle off.
Well, Mr Milburn jumps from the sinking ship. The old cliché: Conflict with family, has been well used by ministers before as an excuse to get out from bad government. Good luck to him in whatever he decides to do.
Gordon Brown, Scotland
Great news. Perhaps Mr Blair can shuffle himself out of power while he's at it.