The mini-reshuffle sparked by Maria Miller’s resignation is now underway.
Sajid Javid MP has been promoted to become Secretary of State at DCMS. It’s a canny choice given the events of recent days – so far his service has been as a hard-headed numbers man in the Treasury, and he’s displayed a strong line in straight talking, something which was painfully absent in the Miller scandal itself. As a self-made man who started life as the son of a Lancashire bus driver, he is a great spokesman for aspirational conservatism, and is certainly from the right of the party.
Nicky Morgan becomes the new Financial Secretary to the Treasury, a promotion from her previous role as Economic Secretary in the same department. She will also become Minister for Women and attend Cabinet with that hat on.
A few initial observations:
- It’s another good reshuffle for George Osborne – two of his team take further steps up the ladder.
- Sajid will be missed at the Treasury. He has been one of the best media performers available to communicate the Coalition’s message on austerity. DCMS needs a firm hand in the immediate aftermath of the recent mess, but I wonder how long it’ll be before people start to ask if he could be put to better use in a more important department.
- Leading on from that point, it’s worth considering the remarkable rise of Javid. In less than four years he has gone from new MP to the Cabinet – just how much further might he go?
- Some other, male cabinet ministers should be feeling nervous. Replacing Maria Miller with a man takes the Government further away from its target for the number of women in the Cabinet. It seems likely the Prime Minister will use the next reshuffle to correct that by promoting women to other departments.
- We still don’t really know Miller’s jumped/pushed status. There are rumours that her decision to resign occurred so late on that the Prime Minister had already prepared to defend her at PMQs, and other rumours that Cameron ordered her sacking last night. The fact that the reshuffle took most of the morning to organise suggests that it wasn’t pre-planned very far in advance, whoever took the decision that she would resign.