David Cameron Indicates He Will Promote From Female 'Talent Pool' In Tory Reshuffle

Theresa May is currently one of only 4 full cabinet ministers
Theresa May is currently one of only 4 full cabinet ministers

David Cameron has indicated he may promote make more women ministers the next time he conducts a reshuffle.

The prime minister is frequently criticised for not including enough women in his top team. There are currently just four women out of 22 who are full members of the cabinet; home secretary Theresa May, culture secretary Maria Miller, Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villers and development secretary Justine Greening.

Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi also has the right to attend cabinet meetings. And there are 12 other Tory women who hold ministerial posts.

Cameron told BBC Radio 4's Women's Hour on Monday morning that now the Conservative Party had 48 women MPs there was a big enough "talent pool" for him to choose from.

"What I have done is consistently try and change the Conservative Party. We went form 17 women MPs before the election to 48 women MPs, that's still not enough, that's still 48 out of just over 300, but it's progress," he said.

"The point is as we've now got 48 Conservative women MPs there is now the talent pool for me to promote women on merit into government. That is what I have done and will continue to do so.

"I think we've got some extraordinary talented women ministers and women MPs and it gives me a greater talent pool from which to promote people."

The prime minister was widely expected to conduct a ministerial level reshuffle last week - however the shake-up was delayed.

It is not just Cameron's traditional political opponents who have criticised him for not appointing enough women to senior government jobs.

Earlier this year Epping Forest Tory MP Eleanor Laing said the party had been "tiptoeing around this issue for decades".

"Basically there is only one person who can make a difference to putting women in places they are seen and reflect the current Conservative Party, the country and government and that's the prime minister," she said.