As the PM enjoys a summer break in Spain, he'll no doubt be putting the finishing touches to his Cabinet reshuffle... but there will be a very real sense that he won't be able to do right for doing wrong.
Firstly, the likes of Michael Gove, William Hague and George Osborne are going nowhere - they're in the inner circle.... but neither will Theresa May be expecting to move. Notwithstanding loud criticism from cops, the Prime Minister holds the view that the most senior female politician in the land is doing the job as well as she can be. Whether the PM would admit it, the only way for Theresa May to move elsewhere is to promote her or another woman to a more senior position, or to replace May with for instance Caroline Spellman. That's just not going to happen.
We know that Baroness Warsi is for the chop as Tory Chair (or Co-Chair) with Sevenoaks MP Michael Fallon virtually sure to take her place following recent tricky questions on her overnight allowances from Parliament... and as for Phillip Hammond - he's only just got his feet under the table, so in my view, he's highly unlikely to be moving just yet... not unless his comments in the Indi today on troops being deployed to cover G4s at the Olympics annoy David Cameron more than they should.
My sources suggest the notion of Chris Grayling replacing Baroness Warsi, rather than Michael Fallon suggest this as a non starter. I remember only too well the day when Chris Grayling (quite understandably given coms at the time) while in opposition told a TV reporter that he hoped Richard Dannett's role as defence advisor "isn't another gimmick". An error he made because no one told him, but an error that left the then shadow Home Secretary rather red faced when it turned out his boss hired the then serving Army General. Indeed it was this gaffe, and not comments on B&B's turning away gay guests that enraged the then Leader of the Opposition... but combined, these two events may have led the PM to the conclusion that Mr Grayling was too much of a liability in terms of PR - and so I feel it unlikely that he'll be the next Tory Chair.
Eric Pickles - well last time I spoke with him, he seemed happy and across his brief. No desire expressed to move away from a department that he as a former council man will know like the back of his hand.
Questions remain over Ken Clarke - the man David Cameron would most like to axe, but a man who has a history of bending over to pick up a paperclip whenever the axe of unemployment has been swinging - or for those with memories extending back in to Baroness Thatcher's last days has been swinging the axe while his leader has been bending over to pick up a paperclip. Ken Clarke's presence in Cabinet lends a certain balance to the Conservatives since Clarke, dubbed as the 6th Lib Dem Cabinet Minister is able to mediate with his coalition partners... something that could come in handy ahead of any ill fated boundary vote.
Jeremy Hunt has made the PM very content over the Olympics - but while I don't think it's realistic to think that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will be axed given the notion of Olympic Legacy and school sports spending, there is scope for people like Northern Ireland Secretary Mr Paterson to step in to the breach and Andrew Lansley to potentially swap with Mr Hunt. Now wouldn't that be a stunning.... sorry I mean a cunning Stunt?
So we should expect an unchanged line up of Cameron, Clegg, Osborne, May, Hague and Clarke with all other posts up for grabs.
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