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Cameron Steers UK to the Right

In response to poor economic news, UK Prime Minister David Cameron is exercising one of the few formal powers the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom possesses: the hiring and firing of cabinet secretaries. With the reshuffling of ministers, the Cameron government is taking a turn to the right, the FT reports, although key posts remain unchanged.

One of the rare europhile Tories, Secretary of State for Justice Ken Clarke, was replaced by tough-on-crime euroskeptic Chris Grayling. The new environment secretary, Owen Paterson, is a staunch conservative and shale gas promoter who opposes left-wing projects like wind farms and state subsidies for renewable energy. Cameron also sacked the transport secretary, who opposed the expansion of Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport.

All are signs that the UK is moving toward a more U.S.-style conservatism, one which emphasizes deregulation and making life easier for businesses. It’s not clear whether this is what Andrew Sullivan meant when he praised President Obama as an “American Tory,” but we tend to doubt it.

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