The newspapers this morning are full of reports that the Government reshuffle will see more women Conservative MPs becoming Ministers.
The Daily Mail reports:
Potential names include Portsmouth MP and Royal Navy reservist Penny Mordaunt, who hit the headlines this year after appearing on the reality TV show Splash!
Another contender is rising star Priti Patel, a former adviser to Foreign Secretary William Hague, who was appointed to the Prime Minister’s policy board last year to help draw up plans for the next Tory manifesto.
Both would be excellent choices. Miss Patel’s robust views on an array of subjects will already be familiar to regular readers of this site.
Miss Mordaunt’s fantastic speech earlier this month proposing the Loyal Address left me baffled that she hadn’t already been made a Minister.
There are plenty of other potential Ministers. What about Charlotte Leslie? Or Harriet Baldwin? Or Margot James?
Then there is the potential for promoting women who are already Ministers. According to The Independent:
Senior sources have named the Treasury minister, Nicky Morgan, and the employment minister, Esther McVey, as the main contenders for promotion when Mr Cameron makes final changes to his top team this summer.
The reshuffle could take place as soon as next week following the Newark by-election and the D-Day commemorations in France which the Prime Minister will attend on Friday.
Schools Minister Liz Truss is also very good.
Rather too much can be made of the Conservatives “women problem”. The latest YouGov poll has Labour ahead by nine points among women, but only three points among men. But then the poll the day before had Labour two points ahead among men but only one point among women. There probably is a slightly greater tendency for men than women to vote Conservatives. Much bigger challenges for the Conservatives come in attracting ethnic minority voters and persuading the electorate that the Conservatives are not a special interest group for the rich.
On the other hand if the spokesmen for any political party all look and sound the same it makes it harder to gain the attention of voters.
The good news for David Cameron is that if he chooses wisely he can increase the number of women in his Government while also increasing the calibre of Ministers.