If you were a old Etonian prime minister with a reputation for 'chillaxing' too much and not having enough women in your inner circle, surely the last thing you would do is casually sip a glass of wine as you sack one of your female ministers.

However that's the allegation made by Joe Watts, the political editor of the EDP, who reports that David Cameron did just that as he fired Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan - and didn't even offer her a glass.

Cameron, 45, is also said to have upset outgoing environment secretary Caroline Spelman, 54, by telling her one of the reasons she was fired was that she was too old.


Mary Creagh MP
Cameron told Spelman she was too old to be Defra secretary at 54. He replaced her with Owen Paterson, 56. Women voters will remember this

However Downing Street were quick to deny the charge, insisting it was "not true".

"He wasn’t drinking wine when he saw Cheryl and didn’t tell Caroline Spelman she was too old. Her replacement is two years older so that doesn’t even make sense," No.10 said.

The prime minister has also denied the allegation made in The Spectator that three ministers "burst into tears" after being told their were fired.

"It obviously is incredibly difficult because there are ministers who had worked incredibly hard, who had done absolutely nothing wrong in their jobs, who were very dedicated," Cameron said on Thursday.

As well as being accused of drinking wine while wielding the axe and making ministers cry, Cameron is under pressure to explain why he has failed to give honours to the women sacked from Cabinet, while men who've lost their jobs have been handed gongs.

Speaking on ITV's Daybreak this morning, Cameron also revealed that he had to help one of his children write a poem at the same time as planning his reshuffle.

"I was trying to do a poem on furry bear while also contemplating all the other things that were going on," he said.

As long as he wasn't drinking a glass of wine at the time, or we could have ended up with Winnie the Pooh as justice secretary.

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