Ms Spelman, who is under investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner after it emerged her children’s nanny had been paid using Commons allowances, moves to shadow communities secretary.
She swaps jobs with Eric Pickles, who replaces her as party chairman.
Ms Spelman’s return was widely welcomed by local government Conservatives. “Caroline will obviously have the big advantage of being able to hit the ground running,” said David Shakespeare (Con), leader of the Local Government Association Conservative group.
Another eye-catching appointment is that of Ms Greening, who campaigned against road taxes and Heathrow’s third runway, who leaves a shadow Treasury posting to take the number two position in the local government team.
Planning minister Jacqui Lait returns to the backbenches.