May 9, 2015 / 10:15 PM / 5 years ago

Cameron to restore outspoken ally Gove to cabinet front line

Britain's Conservative Party's Chief Whip Michael Gove leaves 10 Downing Street in central London, March 18, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - Newly re-elected British Prime Minister David Cameron will restore one of his most outspoken and combative allies to a leading cabinet role by naming former education minister Michael Gove as justice secretary.

A Downing Street source on Saturday confirmed the imminent appointment of Gove, who was last year shunted into the role of chief whip, responsible for keeping party members in line, in what was seen as a demotion.

Gove, one of the most radical figures in Cameron’s Conservative party, drove education reform by encouraging the creation of “free schools”, directly funded by governments and independent of local councils.

But his abrasive style stirred controversy, and last year’s reshuffle sparked speculation that he might have been seen as a liability in the run-up to an election.

Cameron’s surprisingly clear victory in Thursday’s vote has paved the way for him to make new ministerial appointments from Conservative ranks, as he is no longer reliant on his former Liberal Democrat coalition partners.

But so far the main signal has been one of continuity, with the reappointment on Friday of his finance, foreign, defence and interior ministers. The Downing Street source said Education Secretary Nicky Morgan would also continue in her role, with more appointments to be announced on Monday.

Reporting by Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Frances Kerry

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