Conservative Diary

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Cameron will have to find a new job for David Willetts

Gordon Brown has always been an endless tinkerer and he has today abolished the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills just two years after he created it (bringing it under the control of Lord Mandelson).  There would be a neat symmetry if he abolished the Department in the final week of his premiership that he launched in his first but I digress.

WILLETTS DAVID NW David Cameron must now reshuffle as David Willetts finds himself without a department.  The simple thing would be to arrange a Clarke-Willetts double up at Business but I'm not convinced that would work.

What is clear in my mind is that Willetts must be kept on...

  • He's one of the shadow cabinet's biggest brains... he has dinner with Mervyn King, is loved by the FT and Times, his summer party is like an Oxbridge seminar...
  • He's a consistent voice for the poor...
  • He's one of the country's leading authorities on pensions...

If I was Tory leader I'd send him back to Work & Pensions but Cameron would then be forced to reshuffle Theresa May and he's going to want to avoid a big reshaping of his frontbench team.

HAYES JOHN Cameron must also look after David Willetts' deputy John Hayes.

John (who, declaring an interest, is a close friend) has done magnificent work on skills.  He deserves greater recognition.

Paul Goodman MP's decision to stand down at the next General Election may also mean him leaving the frontbench and creating another vacancy.

Tim Montgomerie


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