Conservative Diary

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Reshuffle rolling blog

On this blog we'll be bringing you all of the latest news from the reshuffle which is now underway...

2.30pm Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, has reacted angrily to Justine Greening's shuffling. He told the BBC:

"There can be only one reason to move her - and that is to expand Heathrow Airport. It is simply mad to build a new runway in the middle of west London. Nearly a third of the victims of aircraft noise in the whole of Europe live in the vicinity of Heathrow. Now it is clear that the Government wants to ditch its promises and send yet more planes over central London. The third runway would mean more traffic, more noise, more pollution - and a serious reduction in the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people. We will fight this all the way."

12.30pm: Two things. Firstly, Grant Shapps is appointed Conservative Party Chairman, succeeding Baroness Warsi. While it was an expected appointment, it's worth noting there has been no role yet announced for Michael Fallon - a surprise.

Secondly, sources close to Francis Maude say that Maude knew a Cabinet-level role was on the cards but made it clear he wanted to stay as Cabinet Office Minister to drive forward the cross-Whitehall efficiency and civil service reform agendas to which there is still significant system resistance.

Noon: Four more big appointments.

  • Firstly, Justine Greening is now the Secretary of State for International Development, replacing Andrew Mitchell, who replaces Patrick McLoughlin, who replaces Greening. Roundabout! 
  • Secondly, Maria Miller, a widely-tipped Minister for disabled people is now the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Interestingly, she is also now the Minister for Women and Equalities - a role previously held by Theresa May.
  • Thirdly, Baroness Warsi has a new role as a "senior" minister at the Foreign Office, and as a Minister for Religion at DCLG. She will lead for the FCO in the Lords - a role currently held by Lord Howell, George Osborne's father-in-law...
  • Finally, Oliver Heald, currently a backbencher, has been appointed Solicitor General. 

11.30am Two more appointments. Firstly, Patrick McLoughlin, previously the Chief Whip, is now Transport Secretary. He's working class and would bring more diversity to the Tories' public face. Secondly, Owen Paterson has been moved from Northern Ireland to DEFRA. When he shadowed the department under Iain Duncan Smith's leadership, he was anti-CAP, anti-CFP and pro-hunting...

11.15am Sky's Glen Oglaza says no Lib Dems are expected to be moved from the Cabinet.

11am Chris Grayling has been confirmed by Downing Street as the new Justice Secretary, and Jeremy Hunt has filled the gap left by Andrew Lansley to become the new Health Secretary - as recommended by Paul Goodman earlier this year. It's a bold move, and one which proves Cameron, who thinks highly of Hunt, won't bow to media pressure. DCMS opens up, therefore, and Transport, DEFRA, DfID are amongst the vacancies still to fill. Michael Crick notes an interesting fact: "Looks like Grayling first non-lawyer as Lord Chancellor since Archbishop of York under Queen Mary in 1558".

10.45am Three pieces of information. Firstly, Theresa Villiers has been appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Downing Street confirms. Secondly, ConservativeHome understands the Whip's Office will have a strong military flavour. Finally:

10.30am Two pieces of information. Firstly, it is being reported that Andrew Lansley has been moved from Health to become Leader of the House, replacing Sir George Young. Secondly, it has been noted a number of times on television that a number of those moved around have been women - Warsi, Spelman, Greening, etc. That won't be desirable for Cameron, who previously said he wanted a third of his government to be female. However, Transport Minister Theresa Villiers arrived at Number 10 a few minutes ago with a very big grin. Cameron may have replaced Greening and kept the number of women up at once.

10am ConservativeHome sources suggest that Chris Grayling, currently the Minister of State at Work and Pensions, is likely to become Justice Secretary.

9.45am ...and now Iain Duncan Smith is confirmed as staying at Work and Pensions, according to the Sun's Tom Newton Dunn, as is Michael Gove at Education, if that was ever in doubt.

9.30am Sky are reporting that Jeremy Hunt and Justine Greening will leave their current roles - but not necessarily Cabinet. Greening's move is obviously to make way for a Transport Secretary who will support Heathrow expansion. Sky also report that Iain Duncan Smith has been offered the position of Justice Secretary.

9.15am. Three more bits of information/rumour. Firstly, Cameron is now in his Commons office rather than Downing Street. This means he can conduct his conversations with sacked Ministers or about-to-be-promoted MPs without being so conspicuous. Secondly, Michael Fallon was apparently at Number 10 earlier this morning. He would surely be the natural choice for the vacant Chairmanship of the Party - he currently serves as the Deputy. It would certainly be a poor reward for his efforts to represent the party in the media over the last few months for him simply to be given a junior post. Thirdly, a rumour about Iain Duncan Smith being moved to replace Clarke at Justice has appeared. I just don't see this. IDS is passionate about his departmental subject, he is not in the Cabinet for the sake of it.

8.45am Some other news doing the rounds in Westminster: the BBC's Nick Robinson says Caroline Spelman, as well as Sayeeda Warsi and Ken Clarke, saw the Prime Minister last night to be told bad news about her position. Sky's Glen Oglaza confirms this, and also says David Jones, the current Minister of State for Wales, has been promoted to full Secretary of State, succeeding Cheryl Gillan. This would be a victory for ConHome's campaign for a Welsh Welsh Secretary from a Welsh constituency.

8.30am: Some clarification on Clarke's role. Ken Clarke will act as a Minister without Portfolio and will not have a specific economic focus, Treasury sources say. He will sit on the National Security Council, and therefore will retain some prestige in Cabinet, as well as having some influence on international and security issues. Cameron likes him and values him as a wise economic head, but he will have input on several areas of government policy. Therefore the appointment is not made to release some pressure on George Osborne, rather to keep Ken Clarke around the Cabinet table. 

7.15am: Tom Newton Dunn, the Sun's political editor, tweets:

6am: Nick Robinson on the Today programme confirmed that Ken Clarke will leave his post as Justice Secretary, but will stay in government.

4.30am: There seems to be a relative lull in the re-shuffle. What seems probable from an overview of the newspapers is that Caroline Spelman, Andrew Lansley, Sir George Young, and Ken Clarke are favourites to leave their jobs, following Gillan, McLoughlin and Warsi's departures.

2am: Huffington Post's Mehdi Hasan was the first to report that Sayeeda Warsi has lost her job as the party's co-chairman, to be replaced by Grant Shapps (this is unconfirmed) — and now the first half of that report has been confirmed. Warsi herself has posted the following tweet:


As for what has become of the outgoing co-chairman, Mehdi says that she has been offered a role as "a junior Foreign Office minister with a seat at the Cabinet table, a position she has not yet accepted." All shall be clarified in the daylight, no doubt.

11.30pm: There are still very few certainties about this reshuffle, but plenty of intriguing possiblities. The most striking is the one reported in the Daily Mail: that Andrew Lansley is on his way out. This would be surprising not just because David Cameron has stuck by him for so long (Mr Lansley has been the party's main Health frontbencher since 2004), but also because the controversy over his NHS reforms appeared to be settling down. It had been thought that, rather than risk the perception of failure or retreat, the Tory leadership would now just carry on with the reforms' architect at the helm. Another potential big name casualty could be Ken Clarke, with some reports that he decided to walk rather than taking the job of Leader of the House. If that's true, then it suggests that the course of this reshuffle isn't exactly running smooth.

10.30pm: Looks certain that, in a surprise move, Patrick McLoughlin will be the new Transport Secretary. Before entering the Whip's Office McLoughlin did serve as a junior transport minister. Justine Greening to Chairman?

10.15pm: The International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell is to replace Patrick McLoughlin as the new Chief Whip. The fact that this is the first announcement that is being confirmed is a clear sign that (a) Number 10 is taking party rebelliousness seriously and (b) is meant as an indication that the Whip's Office is being restored to its central status within government. ConHome is told to expect significant high-powered appointments to the more junior ranks of the Whip's Office tomorrow. The Office, we are told, will once again be home for the brightest and best in the parliamentary party. Its members will be the leaders of tomorrow's Conservative Party. Speculation is that Sayeeda Warsi or Jeremy Hunt will replace Mr Mitchell at DFID. He'll be a tough act to follow, having succeeded in putting a commitment to the world's poorest people at the heart of Conservatism. ITV's Tom Bradby is reporting that the outgoing Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin will be made Transport Secretary, but this has not yet been confirmed.

10pm: Downing Street is briefing tonight that the reshuffle will have two main purposes. It will bring forward a new talented generation. It is also saying that it will significantly sharpen the Coalition's commitment to prepare the UK economy for the new world economy. The message is that the Government realises that Britain faces a huge competitiveness challenge and that the new team will drive further progress on education, welfare, tax simplification and infrastructure to ensure that Britain can flourish. The message has an Olympic twist with sources insisting that the British people can achieve great things if we are committed enough. More economic policy announcements are expected from Cameron and Clegg on Thursday.

8.45pm: It appears that, as predicted by ConHome, Cheryl Gillan is leaving the Cabinet. The MP for Amersham has changed her Twitter bio, removing a reference to her being Secretary of State for Wales. Last night we noted massive grassroots Tory support for the next Welsh Secretary to be a Welsh Tory MP.


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