Reshuffle 1) May expected to announce new Secretaries of State and more today

“New secretaries of state in education and business are expected to be announced today as Theresa May freshens her cabinet in an attempt to convince voters that the Conservatives have the energy, ideas and talent for government. Sir Patrick McLoughlin will be dismissed as Tory party chairman and his replacement ordered to oversee an overhaul of party operations after last year’s election failure. With raising schools standards expected to be a dominant theme of the Conservatives’ new year relaunch, well-placed insiders said that Mrs May intended to replace Justine Greening as education secretary. Greg Clark, the business secretary, is also expected to be offered an alternative cabinet post to give impetus to Brexit preparations.” – The Times

  • She says she’ll make “some changes” – FT
  • The process “will start before lunch” and could last 48 hours – Daily Telegraph
  • It will be a “fair-sized reshuffle” – Guardian
  • A “dozen” senior ministers could be moved – Herald
  • Moves predicted for McLoughlin, Greening, and Clark – The Times
  • And some MPs from 2015 and 2017 intakes are expected to become junior ministers – Daily Express
  • Including Afolami, Badenoch, Frazer, and Quince – The Sun
  • But Hammond, Rudd, Johnson, and Davis are “set to keep their jobs” – Guardian
  • Questions remain about whether Hunt or Grayling might be promoted – Independent
  • McLoughlin allies fight for him to stay – Daily Telegraph
  • And Leadsom is also seen as “vulnerable” – The Sun
  • Could Milton replace Hunt? – Daily Mail
  • May has a “history of making surprise appointments” – Guardian
  • Freeman calls for “bold” approach – Daily Telegraph



  • I’m not surprised that Cameron avoided reshuffles – Gabby Bertin, The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Reshuffle Day. And Raab, Stewart, Rees-Mogg and Cleverly are our panel’s top choices for Cabinet promotion

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The shuffle. May’s women gap

Reshuffle 2) “No deal” minister position “to be announced”

““Cabinet minister for no deal” is to be appointed by Theresa May as part of the reshuffle of her top team which begins on Monday, the Telegraph can reveal. The new minister is likely to be based in the Department for Exiting the European Union alongside David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, to provide regular updates on preparations for leaving the EU without a trade deal. They would attend Cabinet and control a significant budget, but would not be a Secretary of State. The appointment will be seen as an attempt by the Prime Minister to demonstrate to her EU counterparts and to Brexiteers that Britain is serious about leaving the EU without a deal if talks fail.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “Post expected to go to Baker” – Daily Telegraph
  • The person appointed “would be based” in the Brexit department – Daily Express
  • They would prepare for possibility of unsuccessful negotiations – Daily Mail
  • Meanwhile, Sturgeon accused of return to “independence plans” – Daily Telegraph
  • UK “hoping” to retain regulation by European Medicines Agency – FT
  • And Farage will meet Barnier today – Daily Express

>Today: Charlie Elphicke in Comment: Keeping order at the border – to prepare for a smooth Brexit

Prime Minister starts the year with “traditional” Sunday interview…

“In recent years it has become traditional for the prime minister to start the year with an interview on a Sunday politics programme. The BBC’s Andrew Marr got Theresa May this year, and the pair covered a wide range of topics in the exchange, which was pre-recorded in May’s Maidenhead constituency before being broadcast on Sunday morning. Marr asked about the forthcoming reshuffle and May arrived with prepared announcements about a review of what the Parole Board can reveal about how it takes decisions and about the creation of a new forest in the north.” – Guardian


  • It wasn’t very exciting – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • It’s “astonishing” how she “keeps keeping on” – Zoe Williams, Guardian

…She calls for a focus on how the NHS “operates”

“… Mrs May insisted: “Actually, the NHS is delivering for more people, it is treating more people and more people are being seen within the four hours [target] every day than has been a few years ago. But of course nothing’s perfect and there is more for us to do.” Last winter Mrs May was rebuked by Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England, over claims that she had given the NHS more money than it requested. Before the budget in November Mr Stevens requested £4 billion to prevent waiting times worsening but was given less than half what he wanted. Mrs May said: “What you also need to look at is how the NHS works, how it operates. That is about the hospital and GPs working together to ensure that they are helping to keep elderly people out of hospital.”” – The Times

  • She says postponed operations were “part of the plan” – Independent
  • Wollaston has said Royal Commission “would take too long” – Independent


  • This is a crisis for all seasons – The Times
  • It’s becoming clear that we need a NHS Royal Commission – Daily Telegraph


  • I agree – Robert Colvile, The Times
  • As a junior doctor, I know that what we need is a proper plan – Hannah Barham-Brown, The Times

More May

  • Prime Minister defends rail fare rises – Guardian
  • She “pledges” parole system secrecy review – The Times 
  • She puts Young “on notice” – The Sun
  • She “abandons” fox hunt vote after receiving “clear message” on the doorstep – Independent
  • And will make key environment speech this week – The Times


Moore: May is making foxhunting into a “scapehound”

“In one sense, Theresa May merely stated the obvious yesterday when she told Andrew Marr that there would be no government time for a Bill to repeal the foxhunting ban this Parliament. The Tories have no majority: repeal would not have happened. But there is something false behind all this. Mrs May said that during the last year’s campaign there was a “clear message” against repeal from public opinion, and that was why she wasn’t, despite her earlier promise, going to make time for a Bill. This is not the case. There was no new “clear message” from the public. Opinion polls have been anti-hunting all my life (though that figure comes down a lot when presented, as it should be, as a freedom issue).” – Daily Telegraph

Ministers to “try to reach deal” with Lords today to “head off a vote on a second Leveson”

“Ministers will hold crunch talks with peers today in a bid to head off a vote on a second Leveson inquiry as Government sources say there are no plans to hold a further investigation into press standards. Ahead of the return of the data protection bill later this week, ministers hope they can reach a deal with Lords on the Labour and Liberal Democrat benches who are pushing for changes to data protection rules and another inquiry into press ethics. The Conservative manifesto ruled out a second Leveson inquiry last year, despite calls from campaigners to look again at how the press works with public bodies like the police and how data is obtained and held.” – Daily Telegraph

  • A “last-ditch” summit will be held – The Sun

Leadsom: Parliament returns to an ambitious programme

“Today parliament returns for its first sitting day of 2018. MPs and peers are returning from the Christmas break with new energy and a determination to help our country succeed. The New Year offers us all a chance to look ahead to the government’s hugely ambitious legislative programme. In 2018, success is in our hands if we work together…. And we will take steps to build a stronger economy, helping improve living standards while funding the public services on which we all depend. The government’s legislative programme is hugely ambitious, placing fairness and opportunity at the heart of everything we do.” – The Times 

More parliament 

  • Morgan writing to HMRC for clarification on VAT after Brexit – The Times
  • MPs including Lammy and Cable sign letter calling for reversal of KPMG involvement in Grenfell investigation – The Times
  • The auditors’ contract is cancelled – Guardian
  • The firm “stood down” – FT
  • Consumer minister announces “crack down” on laser pens – Daily Express
  • DUP MP considered “most prolific Commons contributor” – Belfast News Letter
  • New data released about parliamentary computers’ accessing of porn websites – Guardian

Thornberry speaks out on Iran after criticism from Tugendhat

“Emily Thornberry has responded to criticism over her ambivalent approach to the Iranian protesters by saying Iran had seen “clear spontaneous public outpourings that we can all understand and support”. The shadow foreign secretary also denounced the Iranian judicial system as capable of draconian and arbitrary punishments, especially against minorities and women. She also accused Iran of escalating its proxy wars with Saudi Arabia. Thornberry had been criticised by the Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, after she told the BBC it was hard to tell who was wearing the white hats in Iran, remarks that led some to claim she saw a moral equivalence between the protesters and the Iranian government.” – Guardian

>Today: Nadhim Zahawi’s column: How a leading Labour feminist – the Party’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, no less – gives succour to the Ayatollahs

Bannon apologises to Trump following Wolff revelations

“Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon apologized to President Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr, on Sunday, feeding quotes to the website Axios. ‘I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency,’ the Breitbart head said. He also explained that when he labeled Donald Trump Jr’s Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer as ‘treasonous,’ he meant for that description to be attached to Paul Manafort, who he said would know better.” – Daily Mail

More Trump 

  • May confirms he will be visiting the UK – Guardian
  • He’s set to have first “formal health check” since entering White House – Daily Telegraph


  • Those who “normalise” the Trump presidency seem “diminished” – Richard Godwin, Independent
  • Is Ivanka really in charge? – Arwa Mahdawi, Guardian

News in Brief

  • My thoughts on Toby Young – Fraser Nelson, Spectator
  • On race and gender in America – Patricia Williams, TLS
  • On 2018 and Brexit – Hugh Bennett, BrexitCentral
  • The Wolff book is poorly written… – Masha Gessen, New Yorker
  • Why I love fishing – Nicholas Shakespeare, New Statesman