London: Sayeeda Warsi, who became the first Asian woman to be given a Cabinet post when she was inducted in the David Cameron government after the 2010 election, was on Monday dropped in a mid-term reshuffle intended to revitalize the ruling coalition's sagging image.

Pakistan-origin Warsi was a minister without portfolio and co-chair of the Conservative party.

She has lost the role even though she publicly expressed her desire last week to continue in the post.

As details of the reshuffle emerged, the exercise seemed more driven by efforts to solve political problems than provide new impetus to solving Britain's economic woes.

Leading lights of the Cameron government were not disturbed, but International Development secretary Andrew Mitchell was moved as the chief whip in order to ensure stronger control over Conservative back-bench MPs than has been the case so far.

Mitchell was replaced by Justine Greening, who was Transport secretary. A significant change was moving Culture, Media and Sport secretary Jeremy Hunt to Health.

Hunt was the focus of much attention recently due to his alleged pro-Rupert Murdoch leanings during the BSkyB takeover bid, and his evidence before the Leveson Inquiry.

Maria Miller is the new Culture secretary.

Veteran Conservative Kenneth Clarke, 72, who held the Justice portfolio, has been moved to an economic role in the Cabinet, with the designation 'minister without portfolio'.

Denying it was a demotion, Clarke said: "At my age you do occasionally have to step down from a heavy departmental role before you suddenly realise you can no longer quite handle it."  

Those continuing in their posts include Foreign secretary William Hague, Home secretary Theresa May and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

Osborne had come under much criticism for making deep funding cuts and other measures intended to cut budget deficit, while recent economic indicators suggest that his plans to kick-start the ailing British economy is not working.

Osborne was booed during the medal presentation at the Paralympics on Monday.


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