Cabinet ministers who fear for their jobs have been warned to expect a "brutal process" as Boris Johnson begins a reshuffle of his government on Thursday.

The Prime Minister is expected to make a raft of new female appointments with big names including business secretary Andrea Leadsom and environment secretary Theresa Villiers tipped to be making way.

Female MPs in line for promotion during the reshuffle process include defence minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan, former Brexit minister Suella Braverman and Gillian Keegan.

Alok Sharma is expected to be promoted from his current Cabinet post at International Development, while Paymaster General Oliver Dowden – who attends Cabinet – is also in line for a bigger job.

A No 10 source said: “The Prime Minister wants this reshuffle to set the foundations for government now and in the future.

“He wants to promote a generation of talent that will be promoted further in the coming years.

“He will reward those MPs who have worked hard to deliver on this Government’s priorities to level up the whole country and deliver the change people voted for last year.”

The most junior ministerial rank – parliamentary under-secretary of state level – is likely to have a 50-50 gender split after the reshuffle.

More to follow.