David Cameron has hit back at backbench critics who would dam him as a liberal tory by rewarding those on the right of the party to some of the top jobs - and also, the Prime Minister will be hoping, dampening rebellious calls for change.
First out of the door was good old Patrick - a man who was highly regarded for 'putting a bit of stick about' - but the EU rebellion saw him to his new position as Transport Secretary... one can only imagine what taxi or bus jokes might have been launched at the former Chief Whip by a PM who's no longer exactly loved by the PM - many MP's however are big fans.
Andrew Mitchell takes the new Urquart position - sitting as he does on the right side of the party - and a man David Cameron certainly hopes will be able to rally the troops in to voting with some of the less popular government policies.
Baroness Warsi - well no surprise there... as predicted, she's off to spend more time out of the media while Grant Shapps, the very able former Housing Minister takes her position. Grant is viewed by Downing Street as a loyal foots holder who has tirelessly defended policy after policy and personality after personality. The Prime Minister clearly feels he deserved recognition.
Slightly surprised by Chris Grayling's promotion to Justice Secretary - many had ticked Police Minister Nick Herbert's name in that box - but certainly Christ Grayling seems to have been forgiven after describing (accidentally) the PM's decision to appoint General Sir Richard Dannett as a military advisor while in opposition as "another gimmick" and expressed sympathy with B&B owners who would refuse to accept gay guests on religious grounds - despite what the DDA (Now Equalities Act says on the matter - something that had upset the high command who have gone to some lengths to ditch the 'nasty party' tag and attract the so named "pink vote". It's a fair bet that we'll see a sea change in the 'let 'em all out' policy of late.... but perhaps almost a surprisingly, Ken Clarke has decided to take up the Minister without Portfolio title - which basically means we like you, you're a good guy, come to Cabinet, talk nonsense from time to time, but don't get ideas above your station. This is a real coup for the government who had serious concerns that he might be lost in the reshuffle, and a bridge between the tory right and the liberal left could have been burnt.
Andrew Lansley's move - well not exactly surprising. He wasn't exactly flavour of the month in the DoH - not just in the eyes of healthcare professionals, but in the eyes of the PM who had to stop him and his advisors from briefing the press - instead shipping in a gaffe management team from Number 10 Meanwhile, I'm not at all surprised that Jeremy Hunt has got health - he was tipped for it. The only question mark had been after his recent hacking controversies - a man who's talents have obviously shone beyond that.
Meanwhile, I am surprised that Theresa May has been striped of her Women and Equalities brief. It had to be fair always seemed a slightly odd decision to mix equalities with Home Affairs - but Mrs May has a track record in the area - now however, the Minister for the Disabled, Maria Miller takes this brief, as well as Jeremy Hunt's old job.
There are many other sideways moves, but these are the most important in my judgement - note that right wingers have been rewarded - while at the same time reframing from punishing the less traditional tories.
It's a new cabinet designed, as one Cabinet Minister put it to me, "to cut away all the dead wood and show we're a party fit for re-election". I guess you've guessed, that was a tory.
Evening Briefing: Talking to the Taliban doesn't come cheap - This is from the Telegraph Politics Evening Briefing, which is available to anyone who signs up here. TAX; TRANSPARENCY; TOURISM? David Cameron ended the G...
3 hours ago