Do the Westminster Shuffle

Reposted from James Landale – Deputy Political Editor BBC

David Cameron is preparing to carry out a far wider reshuffle of his government than had previously been thought.

Several sources in Whitehall have told me to expect substantial changes when the prime minister reshapes the team that he will lead in to the election.

The consensus until now was that apart from a few Cabinet retirements, most of the changes would focus on refreshing the lower ministerial ranks. But I am told Mr Cameron is thinking big in the reshuffle that he is expected to carry out early next week.

One source said: “I think it is going to be bigger than we thought.”

Another said: “Last time was a mini reshuffle. This will be a proper reshuffle. Prepare for rabbits out of a hat.”

Reshuffle speculation is by definition just that. Most of the decisions are known only to the prime minister, his chief of staff and the cabinet secretary, and many have yet to be made.

But here are a few unsubstantiated predictions shared with me by ministers, MPs and officials:

Going down?

First of all, it is pretty clear that some old stagers are moving on. MPs say chief whip Sir George Young is openly looking forward to his departure, noting in tea room discussions that this would be the fourth time he had been sacked as a minister during his career.

Ken ClarkeIs Ken Clarke’s long frontbench career about to come to an end?

He was of course brought back into government out of retirement to replace Andrew Mitchell when “plebgate” struck. The minister without portfolio, Ken Clarke, told a House of Commons dinner earlier this week about his plans “for the fortnight in which I am likely to remain in government”.

But there is also speculation that other more experienced members of the Cabinet might be moved on, such as the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and the leader of the House of Commons, Andrew Lansley. Some MPs expect the Welsh Secretary David Jones to be replaced by his deputy Stephen Crabb. There is even some talk of the welfare secretary Iain Duncan Smith doing a job swap with the defence secretary Philip Hammond.

Going up?

So who might move on and up? Some MPs expect the deputy chief whipGreg Hands to replace Sir George Young but others are lobbying against this, saying it would be wrong for someone so close to George Osborne to hold such an important disciplinary role within the party.

Some expect the former Home Office minister, Mark Harper, who resigned because his cleaner was an illegal immigrant, might return to government as deputy chief whip.

Esther McVeyIs Esther McVey about to join the cabinet?

One MP said: “Mark is very popular. He resigned quickly. And he has been popping up in a lot of obscure debates recently.”

Another MP said he expected Eric Pickles to become chief whip, the culture secretary Sajid Javid to move to communities and local government, and Esther McVey to enter the Cabinet as culture secretary.

As well as Ms McVey, Mr Cameron is also hoping to promote more women, with speculation focusing on Liz Truss,Nicky MorganAmber RuddPriti Patel and Penny Mordaunt.

As for the Lib Dems, they are saying their limited ministerial changes will focus on the lower ranks and are playing down expectations that the business minister Jo Swinson might replace Ed Davey as energy secretary.

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25 Responses to Do the Westminster Shuffle

  1. JC says:

    Do ANY of these people have the necessary expertise or even experience in their existing role or their new roles?? No. Bit like the weather forecasters then, one of the only jobs where you can get it consistently wrong and still have a job, only far more serious and detrimental for the Country as a whole.


  2. Of course they don’t JC… but hey that doesn’t matter; they’re just the eye candy ** vomits into bucket** it’s the little minions behind the scenes who do all the work and tell them what to say!


  3. Brian Lovett says:

    Having endured the torments of government with mandate perhaps the nations voters will get of their backsides in the forthcoming general election and Vote! For the moment they have means of changing things, something they may not be able to count on in years to come.


  4. Esther McVile … Culture !!!! LMFAO


  5. Niki says:

    Iain Duncan smith as defence secretary……? I’m almost, but not quite, more worried by that than if he stayed put….


  6. Poor Cameron having to sort a bag of snakes like all of his cabinet and junior ministers. Lets hope that one of them delivers the fatal bite to him and his rotten government.


  7. I think he’s just the veneer Chris, they’ll be some Whitehall mandarin doing his dirty work for him.


  8. jaypot2012 says:

    If IDS does become defence minister then I’d be very worried – he is so unstable that he would press the “button”!
    Actually, Glynis, I favour National Service as it made or broke you – only saying due to my father and his brothers all telling me that in the end, National service was a good thing and that it should be brought back as it would actually help youngsters to gain skills – proper skills like engineering, building etc. It would also get a lot of yobs off the streets and give them a shock 🙂
    As for McVey, culture secretary – you’re killing me here – pass the inhaler 😀 😀
    Cameron knows damn well that he has to shift things around as he hasn’t got a chance in hell of winning an election with the lot he’s got.
    IDS should actually be sacked and taken to court for crimes against humanity – not given another position in the cabinet!


  9. jaypot2012 says:

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    Oh how I’d love to see IDS’s face now…


  10. beastrabban says:

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Well, the ministerial puppets will change, but they’ll still be jerking because Cameron’s pulling the strings, and the attitudes and ideologies remain the same.


  11. Methusalada says:

    Sadly ,The Guardian posted this first and with more detail than the Beeb !


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