Theresa May is reportedly keen on increasing the gender balance within her Cabinet by promoting a number of women ministers.

With women holding only five out of the 21 cabinet posts, the prime minister could double that ratio as she looks to bring in high-flying ministers like Anne Milton, Claire Perry, Sarah Newton, Margot James and Harriett Baldwin, the Telegraph reported.

She is also said to looking to promote the home secretary Amber Rudd and the culture secretary, Karen Bradley.

The prime minister helped set up the Women2Win campaign in 2005 to increase the number of female Conservative MPs.

If there is a front bench reshuffle, she will be aware that women may need to be promoted to redress the current imbalance on the front bench, although she will have to take into account whether their sympathies lie with the Remain or Leave sides of the Brexit debate.

One long-serving male Tory MP told the Telegraph: "It is a big thing for her and that does mean that people are promoted not necessarily on merit and that is a sort of worry. It should be on absolute merit."

One male Tory MP from the 2017 intake said: "I think we are pretty clear on women that people are going to get promoted on merit and there are some very capable women in the party."

"There is definitely a pressing case to bring on some of the younger MPs, particularly the 2015ers. I don't think we are going to have a leadership contest at any time soon but people will need junior ministerial experience at least if there is to be a good contest in the future that is not only between the current familiar faces."

The paper reported that May may move Boris Johnson from foreign secretary to a more beefed up Brexit role to give him more ownership of the process of UK leaving the European Union. However allies of the current Brexit secretary fear that such a shift risks marginalising David Davis.

The Sunday Times reported that Andrea Leadsom could be sacked as leader of the House of Commons. It also said that Patrick McLoughlin may be replaced as party chair by immigration minister, Brandon Lewis.