Cameron: Man or mouse? Man - and butcher!
By Paul Goodman
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A list of nearly the whole new Government has now been published:
- Cameron the butcher: The official list shows 26 Commons Ministers as having been fired. That's roughly a third of the Tory total. So the answer to the question "Cameron - man or mouse?" is: man & butcher.
- There's blood on the floor in the Whips Office: James Duddridge, Michael Fabricant, Brooks Newmark, Angela Watkinson and Bill Wiggin are gone. (Fabricant and Watkinson left voluntarily, as perhaps did others. Only John Randall, Robert Goodwill and Greg Hands stay.
- Some of the sackings are suprising: Crispin Blunt, say, and Gerald Howarth were expected to go. But Tim Loughton, who knew his brief backwards? Charles Hendry, ditto? James Paice? Nick Gibb? In a lot of Ministries, tyros, will replace experts.
- The Prime Minister brings back the political knighthood to ease the pain: It's Sir Gerald Howarth, thank you. And Sir James Paice and Sir Edward Garnier. Fleet Street won't like it. And hey, Dave! Why isn't it Sir Dominic Grieve and Sir Oliver Heald for your law officers?
- Has he done enough for the older intakes? Stephen Hammond from the 2005 intake goes to transport and Mark Simmonds from 2001 flies first-class to the Foreign Office. Andrew Murrison goes to defence. Greg Knight returns to the Whips Office for Maastrict Revisited.
- Only three backbench new boys make the cut... That's Matthew Hancock, who almost counted as a PPS, Dr Daniel Poulter and Brandon Lewis, who goes to CLG. Mr Lewis is a former leader of Brentwood Council and old chum of top chum Eric Pickles.
- ...And no new women Ministers join Tuesday's "Gang of Four". That's to say, Helen Grant, Elizabeth Truss, Esther McVey and Anna Soubry. But Nicky Morgan and Karen Bradley go to the Whips Office: that latter move means a 1922 Executive by-election.
- It's not a good sign that some MPs turned down jobs. According to the Times (£), Dominic Raab, Ben Wallace and Rob Wilson wouldn't go to the Whips' Office. (Will the Prime Minister appoint another PPS to work with Sam Gymiah?)
- The revenge tragedy? Inevitably, some of the sacked Ministers are seething. No less so, not all the former Shadow Minister PPS's have become Ministers and most of the 2010 intake are still backbenchers. And the ex-whips will know where all the bodies are buried...
- And finally...Why are there now no Liberal Democrats at the Foreign Office and Defence? Do they know something we don't? Jolly unhelpful to the Coalition Government, you know, if Israel bombs Iran, to have no LibDems taking departmenal responsibility for decisions...