- Yes, it indeed looks like being a Rehuffle for Women… as predicted here back in June. Esther McVey from the Wirral, a champion of Blue Collar Conservatism, is promoted to Work and Pensions. Nicky Morgan goes to the Treasury, thus bringing a woman to the team. (There hasn’t been one as a Minister since Chloe Smith left.)
- …Not to mention a Blue Collar Conservatives shuffle, too… This is literally so in the case of McVey, who’s very active in the group. She is joined at Work and Pensions by former fireman Mike Penning, who moves across from the Northern Ireland Office.
- …And one for Sajid Javid. I named him over the weekend with McVey, Morgan, Karen Bradley and Liz Truss. One of the four Exeter Musketeers – the others being Rob Halfon, David Burrowes and our own Tim Montgomerie – Javid is now a rising star in his own right. He moves up to become Financial Secretary to the Treasury.
- The tentacles of the Octopus Chancellor are at work. Greg Hands, a former Treasury Minister and Osborne ally, becomes Deputy Chief Whip – a job I tipped him for as a contender here. Greg Clark is looked after by being given the right to attend Cabinet when his new Cities and Regional brief is discussed. (He has moved sideways to the Cabinet Office.) Matthew Hancock goes up a notch to Minister of State at BIS and Education. And Javid is an Osborne protege – formerly borrowed by the Chancellor, as it were, as his PSS from John Hayes.
- The Government is losing good, solid, experienced Ministers. Richard Benyon, Simon Burns, Mark Hoban, Mark Prisk…these are all people who have either been at their brief or on the front bench for a long time, and know their stuff. It’s a brutal fact of political life that most Ministers are sacked sooner or later. This will be scant consolation to the “innocents”, as they’ve been called, who’ve done nothing wrong.
What’s happened to housing – and has been merged with planning, as Nick Faith suggests it should be? Who will grip the HS2 poisoned chalice? More this afternoon.