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This should all be treated with a pinch of salt in my view! We all know that there is invariably speculation in any period leading up to a reshuffle and we know that various "camps" brief against each other.

The sensible move is to leave them all in their positions for at least another year so that they can master their areas whereas Labour are in for a major re-shuffle which will produce Ministers with less experience.

Hague does need to spend more time on party work. So does "many jobs Maude.

I was a potential Fox supporter if he'd made it to the final round; partly it was because IDC was too new and because DD had been reported in the press as a serial briefer against the leadership. Dr Fox has been tarred with same brush and if true he deserves a bit of discipline - while you need to keep your enemies close there is no reason to reward them. We need team players not malcontents.

He has disappointed - while his sales pitch is good the product has not delivered. He recognised Des Browne's error but couldn't stick it to him (the Davis/Grieves duo would have had Browne now commiserating with BPs Browne about their joint losses).

It would be a mistake IMHO to do anything that appears to demote David Davis. The obvious friendship they built during the leadeship campaign seems to have survived and to an extent DD is William Whitelaw to DC (though where Whitelaw was the patrician wet to Thatcher's grammar school dry it's the other way round). Davis is effective and needs a bigger role in wooing the North.

I say sack Fox and emasculate Davis(--only figuratively, of course).
Two true Conservatives in the NugaTory party is two too many!

I do not agree with you Ted on the Whitelaw thing. Neither Davis nor Fox went out of their way in the earlier and more difficult times for David Cameron to keep the right flank happy.

May I recommend Iain Dale's fisking of the article. He seems to agree Fox might be demoted when the changes happen in late July after GB takes the helm. Rubbishes most of the article.

So the media have a "Tory-Split" story - ho hum.

It amazes me that journalists keep falling for this. Every time there is a real good news story about the party, some "insider" calls up and says something designed to create a distracting headline and - whooops, in goes the hook.

This is about as probable as Tamzin Lightwater sleeping with Julian Clarey!

There could be a bit of misinformation being played here from Cameron's whisperers, and Kite has fallen for it hook line and sinker, like all good journalists who make a good living by agreeing not to think too hard about what they are told.

If as Iain Dale suggests, most of this speculation is of the laughable quality, there could be another explanation for it - that there are some power games going on - especially that David Cameron needs to maintain his credentials with the pro-EU media, as his electoral position gets stronger.

What better way to keep up the appearance that he is working hard for Brussels' ultimate takeover of Britain than to send Liam Fox packing? Or one step back from that, put out rumours that such a move is being contemplated.

Sounds like utter rubbish to me, I can't see Cameron moving any of the big 3 (Osborne, Davis or Hague), although if he did Osborne would actually be the one I'd prefer to see the back of. But I don't think it's necessary to move any of them. Fox hasn't been great at Defence, but he shouldn't be moved off the front bench entirely. Bring Patrick Mercer back for Defence I'd say (it'll never happen, obviously). I'd also like to see the return of Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Iain Duncan Smith and Ken Clarke (or at least one of the three, bringing back all of them might lead to too many accusations of no new talent).

I reckon the Tories have not been hawkish enough but doubt replacing Fox would solve that with Cameron in charge. Getting rid of Fox might not however be in Cameron's interests. I cannot deny that the local elections are a palpable success for the Cameroons but there is a long way to go the general election and many a slip twixt cup and lip.

Promote Caroline Spelman?? I have e-mailed her 5 times now asking what the Conservatives intend to do about the Council Tax which is forcing many pensioners to sell their homes in order to pay this iniquitous tax.

I am still waiting for a reply from Ms Spelman.

This one has been going around for months! What is required is a full scale shadow- cabinet reshuffle: Hague to the Treasury, Osbourne to Social Security, Davis to Defence, Fox to Leader of the House, May to Health, Willets to Education, Boris to Party Chair, and re-instate Mercer to Homeland Security. Just a few suggestions there! I'd even go so far as bringing relatively 'new' faces in the S-cab as well.

Sounds like 'kite flying' to me. It would be madness to weaken Davis in anyway he needs to continue savaging the Home Office.

The terminal illness of that Dept is evident in a Job Ad in the Sunday Time today:

" Head of Asylum Policy - The Home office is changing, From April the Border and Immigration Agency has been responsible for securing our borders, for fast tracking asylum decisions, for ensuring and enforcing our immigration laws and for BOOSTING BRITAIN'S ECONOMY THROUGH MANAGED MIGRATION"

There is the usual guff about 'an environment where diversity is recognised, valued and celebrated' plus all the belief/gender/sexual orientation - but very little about essential competencies.

They are offering £80,000 plus a 'Performance' bonus

Davis should continue building up his hard man personna and if Cameron stumbles...

I very much hope Kite's article is absolute nonsense. Hague is excellent as Shadow Foreign Secretary and should not be moved. Fox, as Michael Gove said at the time, highlighted some very important themes in the leadership election that chimed with compassionate conservatism. He also, when he was shadow foreign sec, established the party's human rights commission, and pursued a foreign policy that put democracy and human rights promotion far higher up the agenda than before. Hague has continued with that. I don't think Cameron can afford to sack Fox, and I don't think he should - I agree with the piece at the top - they should sit down together and patch up whatever differences they have. Cameron, Fox and Hague make a strong team and Fox should be kept near the top team.

Fox's handling of the captured Marines was appalling. And if he is briefing against Cameron, he should go.

Although Eric Pickles is a great performer on TV, one of my colleagues wrote to him with a suggestion for the Party to use in local government but, as he wasn't a constituent, he forwarded it to David Lammy - the local Labour MP!

By the way, Simon, Willetts is already at Education and 'Social Security' was renamed 'Work and Pensions' some years ago.

'Work & Pensions' doesn't have the same ring to it as the old title! I'm relieved that Willetts is in Education ( i STILL think of him as being in Social Security!). If anybody has the 'clear thinking' to make radical- and i mean radical- changes to the system , it's him. Btw - Iain Dale appears to suggest that Hague is going to be 'demoted'... That's all we need.

Conservatives have a major image problem in Scotland. Liam Fox is a hugely talented politician, who comes from a working class, Roman Catholic, west of Scotland background. These are precisely the areas in which we are weakest up here. I agree that Shadow Defence Secretary is not the best position for him: is there any chance that he can be found a high-profile role with a remit to help improve the Conservatives' fortunes in Scotland?

Kite flying indeed, it seems hard to justify too major a reshuffle presently and anyone who thinks that this is a golden opportunity to cut out any and all to the right of the party fails to understand the damage that that will do to party unity. The local election results demonstrate what can be achieved when everyone in the party pulls in the same direction, but to keep everyone doing so requires something for all sections of our apparently broad church.

I'd like to see:
a) Osborne to go. I simply don't trust him as Chancellor. He is a major bar to our regaining credibility. Someone heavyweight to replace him. Clarke ideally, but in the real world, Hague or WIlletts.

b) Fox to go. I simply don't trust him as a human being. He's my local MP and he's useless.

c) Spelman to be checked-up-on. I've never seen her actually do anything, but I'm willing to admit that could reflect more on me than her. Giving this week's results, she presumably does something?

d) What has Philip Hammond been up to?

Since I have just heard John Reid announce his resignation as Home Secretary when Blair goes....I have no idea what Brown will have in mind...maybe he'll put Keth Vaz as Home Secretary so his wife can get rich as an Immigration Lawyer

I agree with Ben Rogers and the Editor - it would be a real misjudgement to sack Liam Fox.

I am surprised, to put it mildly, to see LF accused of disloyalty - surely it is entirely the other way round. There have been at least 2 clear examples of briefing against Fox over the last few months. This is a third.

LF has done good work at Defence, for all the reasons the Editor & Ben identify. To those who say he should have secured Des Browne's sacking, there was no prospect of securing a ministerial resignation for incompetence this close to Blair's handover to Gordon Brown. Andrew Lansley recently admitted as much in relation to Hewitt - an even worse performer than desperate Des.

Liam Fox, and his brand of conservatism, are part of the future of our Party. His leadership campaign articulated a thoughtful and principled vision for Britain. His language of the "broken society" was the most vivid of the leadership campaign, and has been echoed since by David Cameron.

Most importantly, Liam Fox is a politican who communicates with passion, and can get people fired up. That is an ingredient the Party urgently needs. At the moment we are attracting real interest. But there is none of the passion and conviction that characterised both Thatcher or Blair at their best. At the moment Cameron appeals more to people's heads than their hearts. He needs people around him who can win hearts as well as minds. Liam Fox is one of the few in the front bench team who have that ability.

Simon Chapman

- there have been plenty of "Shadow Cabinet minister " briefings prior to the the Shoot the Fox briefings that have been blamed on Dr Fox. He hasn't been delivering - his comments on Central & Eastern European contributions to NATO didn't help in forging alliances with those countries for both post EPP and current EU discussions. He hasn't been effective against a weak minister ike Des Browne.

I'm disappointed as I thought his leadership campaign and the policies he put forward were good. He hasn't shone in media interviews. Why?

Just had a thought, I wonder if Cameron will do anything with Lord Trimble. It would be great if he was brought onto the front bench.

Simon, I certainly did not suggest that Hague should or would be demoted. I think it would be madness to do that. He should stay in his current job.

Have to say that the Browne situation was a bit of an open goal, and LF not only missed the goal, but missed the ball entirely. Not the first time either - several times now I've heard Lab activists chortling at some mistake of his.

Far too risky to sack him outright though, and I suspect he could make a good job of some other brief.

I hope that any reshuffle in the future leaves Osborne, Hague and Davis in their current jobs. The public needs to see stability in our top shadow cabinet posts and they have all done an excellent job.
Iain Dale highlights the fact that Hague had commitments to fulfil from before his return to the shadow cabinet, with this done he makes it clear that Hague intends to concentrate on his job within the party.
A couple of points regarding Fox and Maude, Fox has been briefing and he needs to show the team where his loyalty is. If he would concentrate on that instead trying to be the leader of a group within the party who has its own agenda then his ability to do his job in defence might have been more fruitful. His job was to make the MOD do its job, not provide a "hawkish" voice in the cabinet on Foreign affairs!
David Davis from the moment he graciously accepted defeat has been a revelation as a team player in this cabinet, Hague back in the front line and the support from previous leaders has all led to the fantastic UNITED feel to a Conservative Westminster party who are concentrating on the real job of beating Labour.
We need a full time chairman though, and more liaising with the different regions of the party throughout the UK to share resources and expertise.

What qualifications does Osborne have to be Chancellor??

They should get rid of Maude.

No-one has mentioned Letwin!!!

Letwin is an idiot.

I do agree that Osbourne, Hague and Davis should remain in their current positions. The "power three" are integral to the Cameron team.

Osbourne, has improved much since becoming Shadow Chancellor and I think he should be good enough for Brown's successor.

ConservativeHome hopes that the Kite story is nonsense and that if there are differences between Dr Fox and the Tory leader that they can be worked out. - Editor

Well there's a surprise!

It's almost certain that there will be a game of Shadow Cabinet Musical Chairs in the next few months, given that Gordon Brown will have an all-new McCabinet on the other side of the House and the initial 18-month policy review period will be coming to an end, with Oliver Letwin and the heads of the various policy commissions possibly seeking something else to do.

Unfortunately for ConservativeHome, it's almost equally certain that the Doctor will find that somebody else has pinched his seat when the music stops, as he has proven to be something of a loose cannon as Shadow Defence Secretary (if you'll pardon the pun and mixed metaphors...).

I'm sure David Cameron will strive to find him a position elsewhere within his top team, but with so much competition for places, it's hard to see where.

Torygirl, I think Osborne reads The Economist whenever Cameron tells him to!

Torygirl, I think Osborne reads The Economist whenever Cameron tells him to!

"David is strong enough to do anything he wants to do now." -- except hide his bald spot.

The only sensible course is to sack Cameron - then the rest of his chinless-wonders will go as well.

The vote on Thursday was one of desperation, against Blair/Brown, not one for Cameron's Conservatives. How could any one vote positively for what the Cameron Party stands for, as nobody knows what that is.

Dave did say he wanted to repeal the ban on hunting............

Whoever has decided to speak to the Telegraph has surely choose a rather inappropriate time. We have just decimated Labour in the local elections, Labour are sinking into internal divisions and the Lib Dems have disappeared without trace. Yet after all this, the Telegraph decides to run this story with the help of an 'insider'. The party surely cannot forget the electoral problems that come with split parties and constant briefings to the press. Let's hope this is a one off and the up and coming MP's can deserve their promotions through their hard work and performance in the Commons rather than close relationships with unhelpful journalists.

"The only sensible course is to sack Cameron - then the rest of his chinless-wonders will go as well."

That is surely a piss-take? 'Tam Large' must be a New Labour crap-stirer?!

Continuity is the order of the day. Osborne should remain SC, and "Doctor Fox" is a housewife favourite.

Letwin is probably more intelligent than all of them, despite his red-faced, Barbour-wearing buffoonery. I know 'Leader of the House of Commons' is a bit of an empty role, but Theresa May looked like an empty dress on Thursday night.

Best performer? David Willetts I believe.

The vote on Thursday was one of desperation, against Blair/Brown, not one for Cameron's Conservatives.

If that was the case, Lib Dems would have benefited too.

The only sensible course is to sack Cameron - then the rest of his chinless-wonders will go as well.

Do you realise that is class-ist?

So we are all agreed..Maude must go. Now to Dr Fox. Fox is charged with being disloyal, certainly stands guilty of failing to land serious body-blows on Des Browne (I seem to remember that cuddly Frank Dobson also had an easy ride against Dr Fox, so the good Doctor is a serial offender), and between he and Maurice they totally ballsed up the running of CCO, the damned silly and expensive move of CCHQ to Victoria Street and lets not forget that Dr Fox still holds a serious grudge against Hague for taking the Shad Foreign Secretary position, a job Fox desperately wants. So perhaps it is time for a spell on the backbenches.

Crikey, yet another installment in the Get Fox saga. He's obviously the one that the Cameroons are nervous about since Davis can't come back because he was massacred in the ballot against Cameron. We already know the Cameroons were obsessed with Fox during the leadership election and made sure he wouldn't reach the last round through tactical voting.
Fox is a brilliant off the cuff speaker in real life, the best of say 10 cabinet or ex cabinet that I have seen in the last couple of years. They hero worshipped him in the scottish universities a couple of years back when I hadn't even heard of him.
During the whole fuss with Des Browne, in reality he scored maximum points by getting Browne to say sorry in Parliament, something that Browne evidently hadn't planned on doing in the first place. What was interesting was the spin put on it afterwards, particularly by the BBC.
The BBC and other outfits who want a Cameroon Conservative Party have in my opinion a "give Fox as little airtime as possible, and trash him when he does, or he might get really dangerous" policy.

David Davis should protect Fox at all costs. Camereon can't get rid of both of them and Davis should use this as an "if he goes so will I". Why? Fox is the last person in the Cabinet who will back Davis in a serious bust up, now that Mercer is gone.

Why are people briefing against Fox again now? Probably because Cameron's performance
was in reality fairly poor at the local elections. The Conservatives were up by only 1%. cameron's saving grace is that the councils up for election this time were last
up for grabs when the party was much less popular a few years ago, so his results look disproportionately good ("x amount of seats"). Horror of Horrors for us, Labour were also up 1% in these election compared to the elections last year.

"We already know the Cameroons were obsessed with Fox during the leadership election and made sure he wouldn't reach the last round through tactical voting."

Hardly obsessed. When you're miles in front, tactical voting is logical. He would have beaten Fox pretty easily - just by slightly less of a margin, as the contrast in style was less apparent than with Davis.

Liam Fox is simply suffering from his own mistakes. How exactly did Browne survive? LF was Mr Invisible.

"That is surely a piss-take? 'Tam Large' must be a New Labour crap-stirer?!"
Robson, he is a UKIPPER. He left the party a while back with a big fanfare and several encores just in case anyone missed it. Looking at the results last week I would imagine that he will also demanding the resignation of his own party leader based on UKIP's performance in the locals.

"Continuity is the order of the day. Osborne should remain SC, and "Doctor Fox" is a housewife favourite."
Correction, he was the housewife's favourite in my household back in the days of Hague and IDS, now he is seen as too right wing and a bit of a John Reid figure without the loyalty factor.

Scotty, I know it's a footnote but wasn't ukip's performance absolutely dire

They claimed to stand 1000 candidates and wound up with....erm.... minus one councillor!

The vaunted "others" completely collapsed

Can we dare to hope that finally we will hear less on the media and blogs about the non-existent "threat" from ukip?

I wonder who is trying to Ruffley some feathers! Perhaps he should dare tell Osborne which "senior Treasury job" he would like - perhaps Theresa Villier's? God forbid, an injection of Ruffley and the Tory Treasury would fall apart in mutual recriminations. He is not a team player and his mischief making should count him out.

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