Theresa May's ally James Brokenshire resigns due to ill health

She replaced Nicky Morgan as both education secretary and minister for women and equalities in July 2016 after Theresa May became Prime Minister.

Hinds has been MP for East Hampshire since 2010 after replacing Michael Mates in the seat.

The appointment of Mr Lewis was part of a wider revamp of the party's top team.

The former Oxford University graduate, who worked for 18 years in the pubs and hotel industry after graduating, wrote on Twitter that he was "looking forward to working with the great teachers and lecturers in our schools, colleges and universities giving people the opportunities to make the most of their lives". Instead, her Conservative Party ended up losing its majority in Parliament, weakening May's authority.

The bulk of the cabinet changes were due to begin imminently, with several reports saying David Lidington, the justice secretary, would take over from Damian Green as first secretary of state.

The National Association of Head Teachers leader Paul Whiteman called for more stability and investment. The prime minister is due to give a major speech on the environment on Thursday.

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said that, when he had been a special adviser to former universities minister Lord Willetts, Mr Hinds "raised social mobility more assiduously than any other Tory backbencher I can think of".

The Prime Minister offered Greening a job at the Department for Work and Pensions but failed in her attempt to keep the minister from quitting in protest at the move from education.

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