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Chris Grayling is doing very well with the Transport Brief, gaining respect from independent commentators nad people in the industry - leave him where he is.

Chris Grayling is over-rated because he jumps on bandwagons, e.g. No 10 email issue. He may work hard but has not delivered a single sound transport policy. More worringly, he has even supported the Government's road pricing plans.

Just give everything to Boris. What could possibly go wrong?

I can't remember the Conservatives having any transport policies at all in the last 10 years. At the moment there are not that many policies on any area of government.

I was at a talk Grayling gave a month ago to transport professionals and he was on no band wagons then, but gave a well received and well argued speech and answered questions with knowledge and understanding.

Transport is not exactly an area where the Conservatives have covered themselves in glory in the past and Grayling is doing better than any of his predecessors.

For one awful moment there, I thought you meant that Douglas was going to be making a return...

George Osborne’s pro-American...views will make him an ideal Foreign Secretary" how you on earth can you think this would be popular with the electroate keep osbourne where he is

Osborne seems to be doing well as Shadow Chancellor. After all he's more trusted to run the economy than Gordon Brown! ;)

Surely only ConservativeHome could come up with that person specification for Shadow Foreign Secretary?

It's not ALL about electoral popularity, 601. Being pro-American should be central to our foreign policy.

I do think, however, that Hague will be more electorally reassuring for voters if he became Shadow Chancellor. It is notable that the new Tory lead on economic competence has everything to do with a decline in voter confidence in Brown. Confidence in Tory economic competence isn't rising.

Pro-American, or pro-neoConservative?

Hopefully if Liam Fox does indeed go back to CCHQ as Chairman, he can have a good clean out of that self-sustaining bureaucracy. Iain Duncan-Smith tried, and it ultimately led to his downfall - as officials plotted against him.

Pro-American, Greg, and hawkish.

So after the disaster of Iraq, a not insubstantial factor in which was the refusal of the Conservative Party to offer any questioning of American policy, whatsoever, you think the best thing for the Conservatives would be to repeat that all over again with Iran?

As a side issue, how do you anticipate the Conservatives dealing with a Democrat administration in 2008?

Greg Clark is a very good tip for Shadow Chief Secretary.

"George Osborne’s pro-American, Eurosceptic and hawkish views will make him an ideal Foreign Secretary."

I stand by my point from the last time you made this suggestion that the last thing we need after the bungled foreign policy adventures this country has subserviently followed the US into in recent years is a Foreign Secretary with 'hawkish views'.

In addition, I would argue that an ideal Foreign Secretary should be objective, rather than pro-anybody.

I do REALLY hope Francis Maude is moved. We need a party chairman who has been loyal to previous leaders and who likes the grassroot base. I will never forget how he was the man who wanted us to lose our vote in the election of our party leader.

"DV-A: In addition, I would argue that an ideal Foreign Secretary should be objective, rather than pro-anybody.:"

What do you mean objective? are you suggesting some sort of rule by empiricists? I want conviction politicians running foreign policy and it is in the best intereests of Britain that we stand with America on threats to our shared freedoms.

"What do you mean objective?"

Surely that's obvious?

Foreign policy should be conducted in a manner free from prejudicial bias for or against any given actor and determined by what suits the best interests of the United Kingdom whilst not neglecting the greater good of the international community.

"I want conviction politicians running foreign policy."

I couldn't agree more.

Pursuing an objective, independent foreign policy that serves both British interests and wider international interests would demonstrate conviction.

In contrast, serving as the loyal lapdog of the United States in a one-sided 'special relationship' demonstrates only weakness.

Actually I'm warming to George Osborne, bear in mind that the Tories are now ahead on the economic question. Not sure he's really foreign secretary material, I'd move HIM to CCHQ and possibly promote David Willetts to Shadow Chancellor. I'd also try to persuade Malcolm Rifkind to return to the Shadow Cabinet (not as Shadow Foreign Secretary though), he's a superb orator and wasted on the backbenches, plus it would be good to have at least one person who's held a senior government post in the Shadow Cabinet to counter the fact that Brown's cabinet will be so much more experienced. Possibly John Redwood too. Liam Fox should be moved, he's more suited to the Chairmanship than Maude, but Maude has worked hard and shouldn't be dumped completely.

Glad to see Grayling getting recognition, the same for Greg Fox who has impressed me. As long as Gove is kept away from foreign afairs I'd be more than happy to see him promoted.

Vaizey still seems a bit lightweight to me, give him a few more years I'd say.

I'd have thought that being pro-British was a more important criteria for a Foreign Secretary, Shadow or otherwise, not the lapdog of a foreign state - we have enough of that in the present Government.

I would say Vaizey is suited to Culture with his media tarting. Would like to see Gove in something like Health.

Where does Vaizey stand on the BBC? We don't need another suck-up like Swire.

I'm not sure that the tip for Nick Hurd wasn't a mistake. It said in the piece I saw that he'd done well with the Police brief. Nick Herbert has that. Nick Hurd doesn't have a job and going straight into the Shadow Cabinet would be a bit unusual even for a talented eco-warrior like him.

Nick Herbert, however, has done a good job so far and, of course, was previously involved in Reform the think tank. I would have thought that he too could do with a little more Parliamentary experience before reaching the top table.

Mark Lancaster for Shadow Defence. Excellent young candidate and very hard working. Still serves in the TA, recently went on a tour of duty to Afghanistan.

Grayling is a very sharp individual. He may not have the 'star quality' of some of the younger frontbenchers, but he is brighter than most. He is one of the few people on the frontbench who is not coming up with bizarre ideas about stopping us flying or using our cars.

Nick Hurd? One of the most overrated politicians I have ever met. Its all very well saying things the green groups want to hear, but he ignores the economy despite being a very rich man (who flies frequently).

Can someone tell me what's positively in favour of George Osbourne as shadow chancellor? He seems a weak link in that brief to me. Very unconvinced. He hasn't suffered any serious attacks yet.

Chris Grayling latches onto everything he can. This is his job as an opposition politician.

I quite like Swire myself.

Ed Vaizey speaks well and will no doubt have a significant job in the next Tory government. But he hasn't even been in his current job very long.

What happens to Oliver Letwin may be central to this reshuffle. Wasn't the idea of all of these policy committees that they were to report in 18 months? Well, time is up this summer. After that, surely Letwin, as Chairman of the Policy Review, will be without a job, and David Cameron will want to retain him in a senior shadow cabinet position. Therefore what happens to him could determine the shape of the reshuffle.

Agree with Jennifer Wells. Francis Maude is deeply unpopular, ineffective and arrogant enough to think the grassroot members views are irrelevant. He has been deeply disloyal to various leaders and should be removed from Shadow Cabinet before he does more damage to the Party.

I rather feel that Osborne is there to irritate Brown as much as possible; he is doing very well on that score.

Does Gove have to be in the cabinet? While he undoubtedly possesses a very fine brain, he's a bit of a wonk.

He's the foregin policy equivalent of John Redwood.

I can't remember the Conservatives having any transport policies at all in the last 10 years.
I can think of some policies there have been - abolishing the fuel escalator and freezing Fuel Duties, not re-privatising Network Rail, abolishing the SRA and raising the speed limit on motorways to 80mph. Somewhat bitty and no apparent overall strategic plan but definitely some policies on it on occassions.

Not sure if Oliver Letwin wants to be a frontbencher, if he had been elected in 1992 he probably would have risen to the cabinet, but since 2001 he seems to have lost interest to some extent and unlike William Hague seems still primarily to want to focus on his business interests.

Just whiling away the time while the rugby is on ... and in passing would like to add my voice to the chorus in favour of Chris Grayling. A consistently impressive media performer, has that rare and priceless commodity of being a good politician while still being clearly human, top of the list of blokes you'd like to have sat next to you at dinner. Not a prima donna but a dogged and well-deserved opposition politician of the year a few years ago on C4 for his work in uncovering government abuses of power. While I think he'd be great with any brief, I would love for him to be in charge of health.

Hmmm Letwin lost interest since 2001 - I don't think so - he was Shadow Home Secretary under IDS, Shadow Chancellor under Howard, briefly shadowed the Environment and now is Head of the Policy Review. Which sounds to me if you want something in the next manifesto it's Oliver Letwin who is the man (alongside Cameron and Osbourne) who you will need to persuade.

It's not just Letwin though IDS, Stephen Dorrell and John Redwood will also be at loose ends after the policy review and may be hoping to come back into the Shadow Cabinet (Peter Lilley also but maybe a smidgen old). So there are difficult choices to be made.

I wouldn't swap Hague and Osbourne - Hague is great but he's not loved by everyone - the Mr Boom and Mr Bust posters were for a reason. Osbourne crucially is close to Cameron which I think is crucial in posts where you should really be working very closely together.

Leave Osborne where he is is the best option in my opinion. I want to see over the next 12 months whether he has got what it takes to be an effective Chancellor, at the moment I've really no idea. I'm suprised and delighted that the Conservative party is now better thought of on the economy than Labour.I suspect that this may have more to do with the fact that many of Browns ideas are seen to be failing than on anything we've done.
Gove probably does deserve a promotion even 'though after a promising start his tenure at Housing seems to have gone quiet.I still don't know whether he opposes Labours insane plans to destroy the greenbelt in south east England. I would also have reservations about Gove having any decision making influence in foreign policy. We all have our weaknesses and his is that he still believes in the neo-con agenda despite the evidence of the last five years that following it is an absolute disaster for Britain.

One of the big problems Cameron is faced with is the incredibly weak front bench he has. All of this owing to the very weak performance of the party from 1997-2001. If Cameron miraculously would win enough seats at the next general election (which I, for one, don't think he will), the prospects for a Cameron-cabinet are dire. There simply isn't enough talent, and a Cameron government, if it would come soon, would be a disaster in part because there is no strong team around him. In this respect, the next election might no be the right time for a victory.

Goldie - you've got to be having a laugh! The Conservatives have talent in spades compared to Labour. Lansley knows the Health brief inside out and knocks spots off Hewitt at every occastion. Osborne has stuck to a line on tax and spend so as not to scare the horses and we're ahead on the economy. Who do you think would run a better education department, Willetts or Alan Johnson? Obviously Willetts who has brains, application and honesty. Johnson has charm, political savvy and not much else. Far too many Labour ministers are dire and witless. Even without all the new talent that will come in next time the Conservative benches (especially after the last intake) have more talent than Labour's.

I agree with CDM.

I'm sure Gove is an earnest hardworker for the cause, but he's got something of the twitcher about him, and a personality that comes across (on television anyway) as a bit nasty.

That's purely my opinion and I could be wrong....

I'm glad your half witted comments are becoming more infrequent on this blog Goldie.

Mark Francois? - seems to be quite a busy boy.

I think Gove and Herbert are the most deserving of all the young ones. Gove in particular ticks all the boxes: he is intelligent and articulate, the media love him because he is one of them, and he is relatively right-wing for a moderniser so the base quite like him too. I actually agree with him on foreign policy, but can see why it would be risky to give him that kind of brief. A big public service brief (education, for example) would be ideal, with a view to him eventually getting the Home Affairs role.

Herbert is excellent. Not so keen on Vaizey, who will make it easier to attack us as a bunch of smug preppies.

It's not just Letwin though IDS, Stephen Dorrell and John Redwood will also be at loose ends after the policy review
Stephen Dorrell has been out of the Shadow Cabinet for 9 years now, he's maintained a somewhat low profile and not shown much interest in returning and unfortunately for him he probably would remind a number of people of newsfilms of inceration of cows as he was the unfortunate minister who had to make a number of announcements relating to vCJD and BSE which probably killed off what small chances there were of the Conservatives being able to continue in government through a 5th term.

I would desperately love to see Francis Maude removed as Chairman; he has been one of the biggest embarrasments that activists have had to face in recent years. Quite frankly, with 'friends' like him we don't need the Labour party or the Lib Dems.

Obviously nobody has told Mr Maude that his job as Chairman involves boosting the morale of the party membership as well as making the necessary reforms. Unfortunately he has been a dismal failure in this department-offering the activists nothing but regular bouts of self punishment to atone for their 'wicked' past sins.

It is a popular joke in my local association that if the Conservatives won the election with over 50% of the vote and a 240 seat majority, Mr Maude would still be going on about how worried he is that the party has failed to extend its core base to win seats in Liverpool and Manchester!

Forget all the marginal seats, we all know that Liverpool, Manchester,and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne are the key Tory areas under Mr Maude's regime-and that's worked well hasn't it! Put somebody in there that actually LIKES the Conservative party.

"Put somebody in there that actually LIKES the Conservative party."

Great. Forget Newcastle and Liverpool and Manchester - we'll just stick to the seats we have now, and remain powerless. An even better strategy.

A complacent chairman is a terrible idea.

Two to watch: Graham Stuart and Maria Miller. I'd put Stuart in charge of Health and Miller for Education. Also promote Nick Herbert and Jeremy Hunt.

I'd get rid of Letwin, Fox, May and Swire.

Willetts gives me the creeps (as does Fox). Bringing back Riftkind isn't a bad idea.

I'd get rid of Letwin...May...

Willetts gives me the creeps

Good Lord! Justin and I agree...

...on something

Nick Hurd would be excellent in the Shadow Cabinet. I wish him all the luck in the world. GO NICK !!!

Can i also say Grant Shapps would be a excellent addtion to.

I agree Peter that Grant is an excellent prospect but we must not lightly lose his campaigning prowess from CCHQ.

"Good Lord! Justin and I agree...

...on something"

I must have done some really terrible things in my previous life :-)

I've just seen this. It's obviously rubbish.

It was briefed to Toby Helm on the same day as his interview with Hague. That means it didn't come from CCHQ (since they'd have known about Hague's interview and wouldn't have given the Telegraph anything to crowd it out). It is also obviously nonsense. Moving Willetts and Lansley into policy roles without telling us what would become of Letwin? Alan Duncan a rising star!?

As for a reshuffle, we need more grit at Shadow Chancellor and Willetts is the obvious candidate, rather than Hague. He saw off a list of DWP Secretaries ad turned the Pensions Crisis into a real political issue. Osborne should be Chairman.

Speaking as a doctor, I like Lansley - he seems to 'get' the NHS.

Ditch the useless Caroline Spelman and bring in Gove. And Liam Fox is clearly nuts. Why is he even on the front bench?

"Ditch the useless Caroline Spelman and bring in Gove."

Bingo. She has to go and Gove would be the obvious replacement, given that his current brief is within her department. However, he may be wasted there.

I think one of Willetts or Lansley has to be moved to a less public role. They are great at detail, but someone with greater command of the media is needed if we are to to consistently land hits on Labour over public services. Nick Gibb has the same problem - totally in command of his schools brief, but just not enough of a communicator or operator to hurt the Government.

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