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Another bad call from Rosa Prince!

I really hope Pickles becomes Chairman.

He's a perfect representative for our party in the north.

Much more 'real' than Caroline Spelman.

Ed Miliband is a dangerous opponent and I don't think we should leave him a free run in an area where we have picked up a lot of credibility under DC. We need a charismatic new face with media savvy in this role. Step forward Jeremy Hunt.

Any changes must be overtly political ones. Both Ainsworth and Spelman are both non political politicians. So is Letwin. So is Grieve. So is May. So is Lansley. The list goes on.

Letwin's performance against Andrew Neil on the BBC this week was frankly laughable.

I despise the man, but it was actually refreshing to hear Heseltine attacking Jacqui Smith in a political manner last night on Question Time.

We have moved on to the back foot over the last two weeks, and too many of our Shadow Cabinet dummies have allowed this "worldwide downturn" guff to go unchallenged.

The message as we approach an Election is clear- if you want to be in the Shadow Cabinet- show a bit of anger against Labour. Or else, push off.

"room for one more face around the shadow cabinet table" - er, there really isn't! The Shadow Cabinet (if we include those who attend, without being full members) is now the largest it's ever been, and lack of space at the table is not just a figure of speech any more...

I definitely agree about rehabilitating Mark Field. His knowledge of the City would be particularly useful at the moment and what about Lord Howard Flight as a junior Treasury spokesman for similarly obvious reasons?

James Forsyth reckons Fox, Clark or Vaizey should shadow Ed Miliband.

Yes to Mercer returning.

Jenkin should never be forgiven for throwing away his meritocratic principles during his disastrous stewardship of the "Priority List".

Now that Defra has become farming and rural affairs, Jim Paice should be in charge. I know Peter Ainsworth's talents should not be lost, but Jim has the complete respect of farmers, the food industry and the rural community, in a way that Peter does not and cannot.
Jim is tough, firm and fair. (The way country folk like it!) He is the right man for the job.

Ainsworth is a environmental liability who promoted Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" - now damned by the High Court as a pack of lies. The sooner that charlatan goes back to the backbenches, the better.

I would welcome the return of Graham Brady, Patrick Mercer and Mark Field to the frontbenches. They are able and honourable men.

Bernard Jenkin, however, should be left to rot on the backbenches. As Deputy Chairman (Candidates) he destroyed the careers of many Thatcherites in pursuit of a seat in the Shadow cabinet. How he has the barefaced cheek to attend Conservative Way Forward Meetings is beyond my comprehension.

Energy policy is vital and we need a tough, practical person to put across clear and definate policies. An Eric Pickles type character would make mincemeat of Ed Milliband.

We need an Energy spokesman who is pro-nuclear.

i e NOT Letwin.

Don't rule out Greg Barker so quickly. He has the best grasp of detail on these subjects and knows everyone in the energy and climate change debate.

Peter Ainsworth is an incredibly serious minister - although most readers of this site won't recognise that. He should go to Transport or something.

These are heavyweight times deserving heavyweight figures.

Time to bring back Clarke and Redwood now and not wait until we are in Government.

We need to reassure NOW.

I wonder whether Pickles or Graying would be best against Mandy?

An earlier comment is absolutely right. Only those with a proven ability to really fight the Labour party on every occasion, on every issue, and absolutely all the time should have a place on the Tory front bench.
The Conservative team should hound and harass the government every minute between now and the election - never letting up for one second.
Insipid individuals like Letwin and his like who give a very good impression of having no guts for a fight and who appear only too ready to see the other person's point of view, are far too wet to have a place on the front bench in the run up to the election - particularly now a low street fighter like Mandelson is apparently being brought back. This move is, of course, itself a commentary of how little talent there is on the government benches and to bring back past failures like him only underlines Brown's weakness. The Labour party has always fought dirty - the Conservatives should now match like with like.

John Redwood is the only logical choice to take on Lord Mandy of Brussels.

Put Robert Goodwill in the Rural Affairs Department - would be a sound move!

At the junior level, Nadine Dorries should go to CCO and let's also see frontbench posts for Stephen Crabb and Greg Hands.

Letwin not in favour of nuclear ?? - don't forget his work before being an MP involved a lot of financing of nuclear power. Also, it's not that he's against it, he just realised the timescales involved, and that we must look to other options to meet the energy gap in the short term.

I also think Redwood should take on Mandelson. Cometh the hour, cometh the man and all that.

Bring back Clarke,Redwood and Letwin NOW ! For god sake get rid of Spelman.

What is going on !!

I think any re-suffle should be minor in scope. David Cameron has been very sensible in keeping people in position.

Could not agree more with Libertarian 13-19 pm and JS at 13-15pm There seems to be a lot of back slapping at the moment but many people are commenting that the Conservatives are not winning people over but Labour are losing them.
Watching Question Time I could not help admiring the skill of Lord Heseltine with ease he put his points over with strength conviction skill and demolished the opposing views convincingly. In every interview he commands respect and always keeps the interviewer in their place and can be very aggressive when need be.
These remarks can be applied to so may of the previous Government incumbents like Thatcher, Tebbit, Clarke and many more in depth. It strikes me apart from William Hague most of the present Shadow Cabinet seem to get pushed around and are treated rather badly and when I see Andrew Neil more a less sneering down his nose at everybody apart from Boris and Hague it makes my blood boil.
I would like to see much more aggression more passion and assertion and please stop being ever so humble.
People like Maude, Spelman, Villiers, May, Letwin do not cut it in interviews or on appearances on Question Time and the like.
In a financial debate on Europe not one person could stand up to somebody like Nigel Farrage or Lindsay Jenkins and win.
The worry I have is that in depth the current Shadow Cabinet comes over to most people weak and ineffective and the interviewers who are biased towards Labour have a field day.
It is a great pity Fraser Nelson is not a Politician just play last weeks Question Time it was the perfect lesson on how to demolish opposition. As JS stated Letwin is just not up to front line politics nor May with her stupid own goal of the “nasty party”
Draper will be pleased his former boss Mandy is back will he be prepared to be his lackey as before.
On every interview or programme the Conservative party has got to field people that go for the juggler and bury this scurvy Government that are in power.

Clarke or Redwood need to be put in front of Mandy each and every time he says something about anything at all,Mandy must not be allowed to strut his stuff from day one,as he has done in the past,also,if I were to chose only one of them,it would be Clarke,and Mandy would know he was in for some real opposition, from day one.

Won't Ms T Villiers be replaced?

Given that Mandelson will be in the Lords surely some thought needs to be put into who we have in the Lords who will be able to shadow him effectively? To the extent that BERR will be the sponsoring department for legislative approaches to resolving current economic issues this will place some strain on the more junior BERR ministers who will themselves need to be shadowed strongly (indeed there's perhaps an opportunity to use the announced co-operation as a chance for a strong BERR shadow to lead these junior ministers and demonstrate themselves to be a Secretary of State in waiting). I don't think Alan Duncan is the one.

I am not sure that Energy and Climate Change is a portfolio for an attack dog. It may be felt, though, that Oliver Letwin needs to stay as Policy Co-ordinator. If not, I would be very happy with him in the new brief - Ed Milliband is one of the few charming Labour Ministers and matching charm with charm is often effective. He is certainly not anti-nuclear.

It is essential that whoever it is is not a climate change backwoodsman - or we will be marginalised and slaughtered for sure. He or she also needs to be someone very much at the intelligent end of the spectrum: both energy and climate change are very demanding and complicated subjects.

The obvious alternative to Oliver is for Alan Duncan to do it and then, lateral thinking, how about bringing back Ken Clarke at BURR against the newly enobled Mandelson? I think any danger of a pro-EU love-in is outweighed by the total scotching of the "experience" argument. If Clarke refused then we would know once and for all that he never intends to contribute anything further.

And I agree with the comment above. The Shadow Cabinet is 27 - it certainly has no room for more without some going. If Oliver did Climate Change, Maude could combine his present brief with Policy and the opportunity should be taken to dispense with a few others - especially Spellman. Her complete absence from any role whatsoever at the Party Conference said it all.

Pick Pickles for Party Chairman, and watch all those marginal seats in the North come tumbling down.

I meant Clarke still in the Commons - he could perform the role of showing up the juniors there as A Basu suggests. Unless, even more wicked thought, we put Lord Heseltine in as Shadow "Lord President". That would give Mandy a run for his money. But I am not suggesting there would be room from both Clarke and Hezza. Would have to be one or the other.

I would like to see Nigel Farage come in. A good grasp of policy and sticks it to the left and the centre.

I agree with not ruling out Greg Barker. I just looked at the new Conservatives website and the Energy and Environment policy sections. The party's policy work on the low carbon economy, a Climate Change Bill, feed-in tariffs and zero waste have apparently have all been driven by Barker.

Surely Barker is an obvious choice for the new Energy and Environment brief?- he has a serious professional history in international energy and has a clear understanding of the Climate Change issues/lobby.

I heard him at conference speaking very effectively to business about the serious opportunities for British manufacturing and other businesses of moving to a lower carbon economy. He clearly appreciates that even to the Climate Change skeptics we have a chance not to be missed to end our reliance on Putin's gas and Tehran's oil.

" agree with not ruling out Greg Barker. I just looked at the new Conservatives website and the Energy and Environment policy sections. The party's policy work on the low carbon economy, a Climate Change Bill, feed-in tariffs and zero waste have apparently have all been driven by Barker.

Posted by: Anon | October 03, 2008 at 16:31"

Lord Monckton, in his excellent presenattion in the Freedom Zone demonstrated that man-made global warming is a big lie based on voodoo science and a fraudulent scam. Lord Lawson has also attacked the new green fascism. Cameron should repudiate this nonsense and sack both Ainsworth and Barker from the frontbench.

Jeremy Hunt as many fine qualities, but we need a street fighter for Party Chairman it’s got to be Eric Pickles. Besides “everyone knows Eric” in the Party from voluntary workers to the House of Lords. He worked well with Stephen Gilbert in Crewe so those two at CCHQ would be a dream team.

He takes no prisoners with cocky interviews made mincemeat .of McDermott on Sky and held his own with Neill. He is good at building a happy team. I hope that his working class background does not frighten Cameron's advisers. Do the right thing Dave and pick Pickles

As London Tory observed at the top of this thread, Heseltine was on great attacking form on Question Time against the wretched Jacqui Smith, even if the end of his ripostes were a little rambling. But that's how it should be done. The answer is not, of course, to do a Brown and bring back old lags; it's to encourage and bring on the new attackers. Pickles is good, yes, and what about giving someone like Mark Francois a bit more profile? Grayling, too, has more than proved his worth on the box. We've got the people - they just need promoting!

"Any changes must be overtly political ones. Both Ainsworth and Spelman are both non political politicians. So is Letwin. So is Grieve. So is May. So is Lansley. The list goes on."

Posted by: London Tory | October 03, 2008 at 12:3

Oh so true, so true, and the list surely goes on. We have just had a conference of missed oportunities in order to look like a government in waiting, it hit the voters like a wet newspaper. We have got to have political people prepared to take Labour on and not just make sonorous speeches that no one listens to nowadays.

Hugo Swire has the charisma and ability to become an excellent party chairman. He would be a welcome addition to the front bench.

Caroline Spelman has to go. It's not just nannygate but she's so low profile now as to be useless.
A radical suggestion would be to move Osborne to pary chairman which is where I think his talent lies and bring back Clarke for a while. For all his awful attitude to the EU Clarke was a bloody good Chancellor and in these times that is worth a lot!

Oliver Letwin is a talented and articulate advocate for the party - he would make a robust Energy and Climate Change spokesman.

Malcolm I agree with you - Caroline must go and Fred you hit the nail on the head. Hugo Swire would be a strong replacement - he is not linked enough to the top jobs after a strong performance as shadow DCMS.

Why not make Ken Clarke chairman? Raise his profile, while keeping Pickles in a more useful role - his use-by-date is later on than Clarke's.

I'd be tempted to suggest Lord Trimble for a junior post, but that would overshadow the other appointments and leave us very open to attack.

Redwood's blog is a must read. He is still HUNGRY so give him Madelson to go to work on. It's an absolutely brilliant idea.

As I said before I also like the idea of Ken Clarke being a presence.

Grayling I have absolutely no time for. He is a charisma-free zone.

Mercer must never be allowed back, odious little man that he is.

Libertarian - I think you need to do some more reading into climate instability.

Cameron, Ainsworth and Barker are all noting the undeniable scientific evidence.

In case you hadnt noticed, neither Lord Lawson nor Visc. Monckton are scientists, they are politicians who are unqualified to make scientific judgments.

You, like them, clearly have an ideological problem with state intervention in the market and into society.
That is fair enough.

But it does NOT qualify you, nor them, to try and undermine the overwhelming and unanimous peer-reviewed scientific consensus that man's activities are destabilising the climate.

Even Sarah Palin has been told by the traditionally climate-sceptical US Republicans that she must acknowledge that humans are responsible for warming.

Sounds like you better establish a new party because there is no serious political party, nor serious scientist left that agrees with you.

John Redwood has been producing some super stuff on energy (and other infrastructure issues) on his blog site over the past few months, and is a financial heavyweight. He must be brought back to the front bench, if only to stuff all this global warming rubbish. I agree that too many of the current front bench are political lightweights and just not angry enough - remember how Robin Cooke and even Prescott destroyed the last Tory administration just by being outraged on every news bulletin. Lord Lawson should be let loose on Lord Mandy in the Lords, and a media role found for Ken Clarke. Pickles would be an excellent Chairman - the North is far from being in the bag yet.

CentreRight @18-43. You have got it almost exactly the wrong way round. Only the politically motivated and self-serving half-baked are now pushing man made global warming. Real scientists are very sceptical. This is a quasi-religious issue, which is why believers like you are trying to close down the debate. We are simply experiencing a change in the long/medium term climate pattern - as one would expect in a dynamic system. This is not the first time this has happened, and our response should be the same as it has been in the past - adapt to the new conditions, rather than thinking we can change the weather. But we should not hysterically adopt uneconomic and plainly daft policies just to satisfy opinionated, urban middle class luddites.

Give Energy & Climate to Alan Duncan.

Give Transport to Eleanor Laing.

Give Europe to Theresa Villiers.

Give Attorney-General to Edward Garnier.

Give Business & Enterprise to John Redwood.

Eleanor Laing has been over-looked by the new administration. She deserved a good job.

I meant to say deserves...

Redwood has found some steel. If you have read his blog, you will realise that he has some very intelligent and straight forward ideas to get this country out of the mire. If Clarke joins the cabinet I will find it very difficult to sign the check when renewing my party membership. I watched him speak up for the Lisbon Treaty during that very short debate in parliament - he did so with relish.

Anyone who thinks that the Lisbon treaty is not that important to party members is a fool. Bring Clarke in and watch both the membership and our poll ratings plummet.

Find a prominent role for Clarke, and frequent appearances on QT and Daily Politics.
Rifkind to Foriegn Office,but obviously keep Hague in prominent role.
Give Brady the bum's rush. I'll never forget his smirking face after he tried to unseat Cameron over grammar schools.

Who is Maria Miller?

I think there is an argument for appointing a prominent peer to shadow Mandy, however I'm not sure there are any Conservative peers of sufficient stature. Lord Trimble?

One option to get the number of portfolios down would be to appoint one shadow for NI, Wales & Scotland combined.

The number of cabinet ministers and "ministers attending the cabinet" seems to be spiralling out of control. Surely any more than 15 or 16 is unmanageable? I despise the way the Labour government has constantly tinkered with departments, but an incoming Conservative administration should do something to sort out a good structure - and then stick with it. You could combine the "devolved country" departments into a constitutional affairs dept reporting to the Lord Chancellor, make DfID report to the FCO, abolish DCMS, merge Energy back into BERR etc. If we going to have a lighter touch government then there's no needs for all these secretaries of state to run our lives.

Maria Miller is good where she is. Ed Vaizey would be great at International Development as, actually would Jeremy Hunt although I do think Jeremy's fantastic communication skills and the fact that he is a genuinely nice guy would go down well at CCHQ.
Also move Theresa Villiers from Transport - how about a direct swap with Mark Francois?

Theresa May's problems seem to be that no one ever watches Business Questions where she actually performs well against Harriet Harman and a remark made ages ago - get over it! She's actually very close to DC and his modernising agenda and I think the general consensus even on this site is that he's done pretty well.
Redwood - alas no. For all his talents he's a "horse frightener" for just at the moment, anyway.
Dorries performed very poorly at the Conference interview with Andrew Neil after her little film about tax-cutting.
I agree actually about Mark Francois.

Whats the purpose of the new department, other than to create a non-job in Government for a non-person?

Shouldnt Brown have to go to Parliament to report the changes of Government? I know he didnt give a toss last year when he reformed Government but this is getting ridiculous.

Upon winning the 1997 election Labour were paralysed with a lack of policy and lack of detailed plans for government. Oliver Letwin is the architect of consistsent and sensible policy across every breif on an unprecidented scale for an opposition party. He should stay where he is and finish his excellent job.

Duncan is all image and presentation and is better with business where glad handing is key.

Barker is both pro nuclear, pro business and understands the opportunity of Climate Change for the economy. He is also a diehard Cameroon and energetic and agressive enough to match Milliband Jnr.

Ainsworth's anti nuclear stance would sit uneasily with the energy brief- besides, I thought the consensus was that he was under performing...?

This rush to re-instate old hands is a knee jerk reaction to Brown's shuffle- remember he did it because he was facing annihilation, we have no such worry.

James Maskell says: "Whats (sic) the purpose of the new department, other than to create a non-job in Government for a non-person?"

I think you are totally wide of the mark. Not only are both Energy supply and Climate Change, and the two issues' complex interaction, extremely important but Ed Miliband is not a non-person. In my view he is the next Leader of the Labour Party (after they lose the election), certainly if the Labour Party has any sense remaining in it whatsover. You heard it from me (almost) first, mark my words.

Patrick Mercer, did not merely disappoint David Cameron with his perceived treacherous aid to Gordon Brown which proved to be a cheap victory for Brown and the Labour party and furnish talk along the lines that Mercer wanted to "go even further into the heart of Labour", but his offer was politely declined. Mercer promised his allegiance to David Davis and did not seem to want to go out of his way to rebuild bridges with his party. Mercer said that the Tory conference in Blackpool conflicts with other appointments. Mercer’s Commons office said
"he may nip in and out if he can. He isn’t going to commit himself."

Asked if his leader David Cameron was a man of principle Mercer responded with a two finger gesture which just about summed up his feeling towards David Cameron. Patrick Mercer is a "disgraced Tory politician" and his loyalty will always carry a question mark and I doubt he ever intended to commit himself to the party and perhaps it was always to him little more than a means to fulfil his agenda: manpower in the armed forces.

After all the Mercer scandals and his "crass" rhetoric that alienated and offended so many good people over the years it would be very unwise if Cameron open any door for Mercer and anyway the man seems to be quite happy
being a rent-a-quote and self-appointed Armed Forces representative.

Mercer said "Now we are going back to the battles our fathers and grandfathers experienced." And somehow I feel sure those battles with glorious deeds and bloody conquest enthral him that he would be sorry to see the end of war because for him "a chest full of medals and to be in a prestigious fighting unit is the business", and so I think Mr Mercer’s character and turn of mind are inappropriate to the proper regard of the needs of the people of Newark.

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