Preparing for a keynote speech, in which he will outline a basic framework for reforms of Britain's health and education services, the Conservative leader strengthened his front bench team for the crucial run up to the next general election.
In his place, Andrew Lansley is promoted to the shadow cabinet to lead on health affairs, while Tim Collins in brought in as shadow secretary for education, each able to focus on the front line reforms on an individual departmental basis.
Mrs May, meanwhile, takes on a new post as shadow secretary for the family, with responsibility for childcare issues and work-life balance; plus a campaigning role highlighting the success of Conservatives in delivering better local services at lower cost.
In another change, shadow work and pensions secretary David Willetts hands over his role as head of party policy co-ordination to David Cameron - who will report directly to Michael Howard - so that he can devote more time to the development of pensions policy.
Conservative co-chairman Dr Liam Fox commented: 'Last week's elections showed clearly that the British public are deeply disillusioned with Tony Blair's administration and are looking for an alternative. The only credible alternative to Labour is a Conservative government.'
Dr Fox told conservatives.com: 'After seven years of being let down by Labour, the public rightly expect coherent and workable ideas from the Conservative Party. Our refreshed shadow cabinet team will bring forward over the coming months details of our alternative policies for the public services and for making life better for patients and pupils.'