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DD must be furious!

Bloody good strong team. Overall, young and dynamic. Will set Labour back on their heels.

Why James?

Out of interest, what do all the whips do and why are there so many?

He has lost half his team and not got Mercer back.

Yes, indeed, why should David Davis be furious? Also, why no reference to Justice?

where is justice?

Given that Nick Herbert is DD's protege, I have no doubt that he will defer to DD on the big issues and stories....

Never mind, DD, you might have cause to need a Union flag hoisted at some point so Rozzer might come in handy.

So do we count Justice as part of the Home Affairs team then? Surely not. What with the Constitution being the next big thing and all...

What happened to Henry Bellingham?

Where's Patrick Mercer, his exclusion from Defence is a disgrace.

I added Justice just above Health.

My understanding is that Ed Vaizey was passed over because he was as responsible for the museums row as Hugo Swire. He couldn't be promoted at the same time as his boss was fired.

Excellent news regarding Anne Milton - a former Nurse now in the department for Health. A real star of the 2005 intake.

Why doesn't he take the lead and appoint a shadow minister for England.

May I be the latest to ask where Patrick Mercer is?

CCHQ spy

My understanding is that the sole reason Andrew Mitchell wasn't binned was because he booked himself a trip to Rwanda. As soon as the next opportunity arises Vaizey will take his job, which DC has marked down as his.

(Museums charging wasn't Vaizey)

Vaizey was at the lunch where museums charging was discussed and was a part of table conversation.

Do we have a list of CCHQ appointees?
Has Nadine Dorries been given a role there?

I have heard the 'Rwanda reason' for Mitchell being kept on. It was quite clever of Mr Mitchell to organise an Africa trip involving the leader that followed the likely reshuffle date.

If Jeffrey is right (14:51), it seems odd that it was previously reported that Andrew Mitchell was being considered for the Chairmanship. For a low profile and relatively non-partisan department, he has also done pretty well - quite visible with articles on this website etc. The Rwanda trip, however, could have been an inhibition on moving him to another Shadow Cabinet post.

Are the Lords appointments not considered worthy of being set out, or is the Editor trying to avoid another row about Sayeeda Warsi etc? Incidentally, although I did not see the whole programme, she seemed to do perfectly well on Question Time last night.

The point about Patrick Mercer is that, regardless of Dave's decision to leave him languishing on the back benches, he'll doubtless continue to be in demand to comment on defence, security, counter-terrorism and so forth both for the print and broadcast media, because he knows his stuff, speaks with authority and genuinely has something to contribute.

The same cannot be said of everyone on the list above.

It would be interesting to list those MPs who have no role as Front Benchers, Party Officers or Leading policy review groups so that we can ponder what they are for??

Does anyone have a list of those who are now without a front bench role who previously had one?

Interesting that peers don't count as front bench any more.

Never mind Patrick Mercer, the two glaring omissions seem to be Sir Malcolm Rifkind (allegedly of his own accord) and Julie Kirkbride.

Why won't Malcolm Rifkind swallow his pride and accept a lesser job? Otherwise there doesnt seem much point in him bothering to stay in politics.

It is a young team. It's a shame that some of the greybeards like Sir Malc aren't being brought back to add some experience.It would give us a greater edge in my opinion.
Still as Alan Hansen once advised Alex Ferguson 'you won't win anything with kids'. Alan was wrong in 1999, let's hope this idea will be wrong again in 2009 or whenever the next GE is.

I would have thought it was very obvious why Patrick Mercer hasn't reappeared - Surely we don't want to turn into New Labour in reappointing people who resigned only a few weeks earlier. It seems fair that he should spend a little more time in rehab. Frankly though, I see him that often on news programmes and in the papers as 'Former Conservative Security Spokesman' that hardly anything has changed since he quit - if anything his profile is even higher!

Etonians appear to be very under-represented. Anyone fancy checking out how many there are - I can only identify Henry Bellingham, Boris Johnston and, I assume, Nick Hurd. Maybe Richard Benyon and Ed Vaisey?

My man in the Shires has torn himself away from his teatime entertainment with the servant girl in the gazebo to inform me breathlessly: "This is a disgracefully low ratio for such a persecuted minority. With Boris off to be Mayor of London, and Oliver demoted and now the only OE in the Shadow Cabinet other than the leader, one does rather fear for the future. Is this young Cameron chap just a front man designed to reassure Etonians that all is well, when it isn't? That Heath chap knew his stuff, and had about 11 Etonians at a sitting (in his Cabinet I mean, don't be so rude). Can you get your computerwebthingy people to check this out for me, old man? Should shut up some of that tiresome chippiness though, eh?"

Have you had a good lunch Londoner?


Instead of casting aspersions on my excellent City lunching facilities, can't you got one of the girls in your town clerk's department down there in Essex to look up the facts for me? I am sure they could do it with a bit of goggling, and a notable elected personage with your clear charisma and air of command could I am sure get them to work on such an important bit of research in a jiffy.

P.S. If I had had a really good lunch I certainly wouldn't have been back from it as early as 16:16.

It's a shame that Nadine Dorries MP has not been appointed to a position. I suppose her out spoken stance on Grammar Schools, (She was the 1st MP to break rank) is a black mark against her name in the Whips' Office.

Nah,I'm in the City too and as I'm sure you know looking up irrelevant facts on google is a sackable offence here!
As regards 16.16 I might agree with you old boy but I suppose it depends on what you started!

Vaizey is St Pauls, not Eton.

Glad to see this is 'official' now...have to say i dont think this was handled particularly well, by which i mean it happening in 2 stages (monday and weds eve/thurs - Weds eve is a terrible time to start a reshuffle - no one about). I also dont think leaking appointments on the net before they are confirmed is a good idea either.

Good set of appointments though.

Can tell it's Friday. Morphing into the surreal.

No Hugo Swire I see. Presume he's done a Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

But it is Councillor Malcolm of Essex isn't it? I was merely suggesting you should pick up the phone to your underlings down there but, come to think of it, they will have all long since gone home for their tea.

I hope your City job isn't working for me or I'll have to be very cross at you wasting so much time entertaining the mug posters (or I think that's what the editor said he was doing today).

Definitely don't work for you Londoner. My boss is still 'at lunch' so I'm holding the fort.
Actually I had a nice lunch too with one of our GLA candidates where we solved all the problems facing our party!
I thought it wise to steer clear of the 'mug' thread although I am looking forward to receiving mine at some point before I die.

I would have thought Desmond Swayne was worth a place somewhere. Also are all the people in Lansley's Health team qualified to speak on the subject? If not, it seems surprising that Fox and Murrison, both doctors, are at Defence.

Patrick Mercer and Sir Malcolm Rifkind would be assets to the front bench and give it some much needed weight, but I don't suppose there'll be another reshuffle now till after the next election.

John @ 13:37 - There are so many whips because they each get a geographical area and a department to "look after". As far as the area is concerned, they look after the welfare of and generally keep an eye on candidates selected in that area as well as MPs and as far as the department is concerned, they go to the meeting every day and generally take responsibility for looking after matters in that policy area.

Benyon is Bradfield, not Eton.

Personally can't understand why neither Mark Field, Greg Hands nor Julie Kirkbride are not included.

David Belchamber- I believe Swayne is Cameron's PPS hence he would be ineligible to serve as a Shadow Minister.

Also Andrew Murrison served in the recent Iraq War as a medic for the armed forces so presumably has some authority on defence issues.

A very good point about Greg Hands, Legal eagle. He's certainly someone i have come to respect a great deal.

Chris Heathcote: Patrick Mercer did not resign. He was sacked, very wrongly and disgracefully.

I would like to see Malcolm Rifkind back somewhere but if you have been Foreign Secretary, I guess Shadow Secretary for Paperclips is a bit unattractive.

With Vaisey and Benyon confirmed by helpful posters above as not being Old Etonians, the Commons front bench now has a total of 2 Shadow Cabinet Old Etonians (inc the Leader himself), and 3 others (assuming young Hurd was Eton as his father was), out of the 93 names above (one appears twice but Cameron is omitted).

Would someone please go and tell the Guardian etc this?

Incidentally these numbers mean that almost half the parliamentary party are front benchers, which is fairly amazing. If an MP is not a complete idiot, or a distinguished elder statesman past such things, what exactly do they have to do NOT to be invited to join the Front Bench? I hope no-one says demonstrate independence of mind...

The answer to that is that some excellent people like Edward Leigh get appointed to run standing committees etc, there are other things to do in parliament besides being on the front bench.

DCSF is strong, isn't it? Don't know Miller, but Gove, Gibb and Loughton are smart cookies. Not sure they would all, or even mostly, agree with the grammar-school policy, though. Could be that a quiet period for review could lead to a refinement of the position that is more to Tories' tastes. Those who want a change would probably be well-advised to give them a bit of time and lobby quietly. Of course, they'll have to hope that Balls doesn't find ways to keep the issue alive.

Would like to see Patrick Mercer represent England.
He would definitely find it easy to gain the support in the shires and beyond, making him a strong force to represent English votes in Parliament.

For the Tory public school Eton info, the following link may be of use:


I'm surprised not to see Stephen Crabb on the list

Empedocles - I wouldn't count on that if I were you.

Malcolm Rifkind - why?

We've missed you, Your Grace.

Thank you very much Bill for a most useful link to the Guardian on current Tory MPs' education. The list shows there are in fact a total of 6 Old Etonians (OEs) amongst Cameron's 92 Commons frontbenchers (7 inc Cameron himself). I had not identified Clifton Brown and Wiggin. At 7.5%, this is just below the average for the Parliamentary Party as a whole of 7.6% (15 out of 198). Excluding Cameron himself (as the accusation has been that he appoints OEs disproportionately) the figures are 7.1% of Commons frontbenchers compared with 6.5% of all Tory MPs.

So three is no bias either way. My impression is that all these Etonian percentages would have been way higher not that many years ago. I may do some research some time to show this.

The independent school proportion of 112 out of 198 is, however, somewhat higher than I might have expected, I must admit.

Thank you, Londoner, for bringing a little statistical reality to that point.

I am amazed that so many of our supporters seem so preoccupied by the educational background of our front bench - personally, I'm more interested in whether they have the right qualities and skills for their jobs than which school they were sent to by ther parents as children. Strangely, I want people who are seeking to run our country to have been educated well!

Moreover, I want every child to be educated well. If we genuinely believe as a party in finding the best mechanism for today to give a excellent education to every child that is capable of bringing out their individual talents, perhaps those who've been fortunate enough to have one themselves shouldn't have to be afraid of showing it. I just wonder if the people who worry about where a Shadow Minister was educated are really on the right end of the education debate.

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