Great for @ShippersUnbound to have such an informed reshuffle piece, but aides briefing on reshuffles causes mayhem – angry ministers start demanding private reassurances and counter-briefing begins. Soon someone asks: are sure we *really* want to do this? pic.twitter.com/E9f99pWHJ5
— Craig Oliver (@CraigOliver100) December 31, 2017
Five more malcontents on the backbenches might be a mistake.
This is quite a bold move by Mrs May, in December she effectively fired her oldest friend in politics, in January she’s on course to fire her campaign manager from her leadership campaign, although Lord Adonis may have saved Grayling from the chop.
Senior Tories predicting Grayling on his way out in January reshuffle. Andrew Adonis demanding his head tonight may well save him
— Tim Shipman (@ShippersUnbound) December 30, 2017
Speaking about that leadership contest, she’s might be axing Andrea Leadsom which again maybe a mistake.
With the forthcoming Brexit votes and the precarious majority thanks to the DUP Mrs May has, adding five further malcontents onto the backbenches could imperil those votes even before we consider the problems that Craig Oliver has identified. Mrs Leadsom might see this as casus belli to launch a leadership challenge.
Another troublesome member might be Boris Johnson, The Sunday Times say
Chancellor Philip Hammond is safe in his post, but senior May aides want to persuade Boris Johnson to take a souped-up Brexit delivery job, probably based in the business department, after a turbulent time at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Johnson’s allies say he would regard that as a demotion and would fight it.
May was warned by her former chief whip, Gavin Williamson, not to hold a reshuffle before the local elections in May.
But Julian Smith, the new chief whip, has sided with Gavin Barwell, May’s chief of staff, to convince the prime minister that party management will be more difficult if she does not beef up her top team and promote younger MPs.
For those betting on Jeremy Hunt as Theresa May’s successor there’s good news.
Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, is tipped to take over the Cabinet Office role vacated when May’s closest cabinet ally Damian Green was forced out before Christmas, but the prime minister is not expected to give Hunt the title of first secretary of state.
One ally said: “Jeremy is a peacemaker and a negotiator, and that’s what’s needed to deal with the rest of the cabinet and the devolved administrations.”
But the stories do have a bit of a contradiction, The Sunday Times say Greg Clark is going to get sacked, whilst The Sun on Sunday says Greg Clark is tipped for a big promotion.
Of those tipped to join the cabinet are Brandon Lewis, Damian Hinds, and Dominic Raab, I’d be delighted with the latter’s promotion, having backed him to be Theresa May’s successor.