William Hague’s move to become leader of the Commons has echoes of the path taken by Robin Cook after the 2001 election. Photograph: Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images
- Foreign secretary takes lesser role of Commons leader
- Defence secretary Philip Hammond set to replace Hague
- Damian Green, David Willetts and Dominic Grieve also out
By Nicholas Watt
15 July 2014
William Hague is to stand down as foreign secretary with immediate effect and will take on the lesser role of leader of the House of Commons as David Cameron embarked on the most far reaching reshuffle of the parliament that was dubbed a new "night of the long knives".
A far wider than expected cull of male ministers saw the former chancellor Kenneth Clarke leave the government alongside Damian Green, the policing minister, Dominic Grieve, the attorney general, and David Willetts, the universities and science minister.
Philip Hammond, the highly eurosceptic defence secretary, emerged as the leading candidate to replace Hague at the foreign office. Hammond, who said last year that he would vote to leave the EU if it remained in its presence form, would assume the mantle of the cabinet's most senior eurosceptic as foreign secretary.