Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Wednesday, 13 August 2008 15:48 UK
Cabinet reshuffles

From time to time the prime minister will reorganise his cabinet in a cabinet reshuffle.

In a reshuffle existing cabinet ministers may be:

• promoted and put in charge of a more important government department

• demoted

• moved sideways, to posts of roughly equal seniority

• leave the cabinet and be replaced.

After a couple of years with the same team, prime ministers often seek to make changes to their cabinets in order to give their government a fresh look, or a new direction and in the hope of increasing the government's popularity with the general public.

The term reshuffle is also applied when leaders of other parties change their senior spokespeople.

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