Jack Straw replaced Robin Cook as Foreign Secretary in a wide-ranging Cabinet reshuffle announced by Prime Minister Tony Blair last night.

David Blunkett's much-publicised move to the Home Office was officially confirmed.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott is to be moved to his own office in the Cabinet Office, and a new Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will be headed by Margaret Beckett.

This means the end for the widely-criticised Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Tyneside MP Stephen Byers leaves the Department for Trade and Industry to become Secretary of State at the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions.

Other Downing Street announcements included the appointment of Estelle Morris at the helm of the new department of Education and Skills, and Alistair Darling heading the new department for Work and Pensions.

Tessa Jowell takes over from Chris Smith as Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, while Patricia Hewitt becomes Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and Minister for Women.

Durham North-West MP Hilary Armstrong has been appointed Chief Whip, and former Home Office Minister and Charles Clarke assumes the Cabinet post of Minister Without Portfolio and Labour Party Chairman.

Former Agriculture Minister Nick Brown is the Minister for Work and will sit in on Cabinet meetings. John Spellar becomes Transport Minister.

Darlington MP Alan Milburn remains Health Secretary.

Tackling the problem of teacher shortages is one of the major challenges for the new Government, said Ms Morris.

''It's one of the ironies that the more money we put into education, the more posts we create," she said.

Ms Morris said that the modernisation drive begun in 1997 by her predecessor David Blunkett would continue and she would be ''uncompromising'' when it came to improving standards in secondary schools.

The employment section of her old ministry has now been hived off to the new Ministry for Work and Pensions, leaving Ms Morris responsible for education and lifelong learning.

Stephen Byers' greatest challenge as the new Transport Secretary will be sorting out the railways.

A series of train disasters and the effects these have had on cash-strapped rail infrastructure company Railtrack have derailed Labour's plans for a rail renaissance.

The new minister now faces the tricky problem of whether to bail out beleaguered Railtrack with public money. Mr Byers will be expected to make a quick decision on the much-delayed winner of the franchise to the London to Scotland East Coast main line.

Mr Cook's move from the Foreign Office is the biggest surprise in the reshuffle.

Last night, he welcomed his appointment as Leader of the House of Commons.

His new role will mean organising Commons business and deputising for the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in certain debates.

''I have always been first and foremost a parliamentarian and have missed the House of Commons over the last four years,'' he said.

''Inevitably, as Foreign Secretary I have spent little time in the House. I am glad that I will be back at the centre of Commons debate."