There was a not-very-subtle message in the choice of Dominic Raab to succeed his former employer at Dexeu. By appointing a former Chief of Staff to David Davis, as Paul put it earlier: ‘No clearer signal could be sent that the Haltemprice and Howden MP is out on his own.’ He has merits of his own, of course, but the subtext is a definite upside for Downing Street.
The same logic seems to have been applied to the more junior appointments in this afternoon’s mini-reshuffle.
Kit Malthouse becomes the new Housing Minister, succeeding Raab in a role which is crucial to the nation. He is experienced in local government, both from his time at Westminster City Council and at the London Assembly, and so there is a logic to the appointment – but he also served as a Deputy Mayor to Boris Johnson, and has long been linked to the former Foreign Secretary. The decision therefore appears to carry a rather blunt political hint, too.
Meanwhile, Chris Heaton-Harris steps up to the take on Steve Baker’s former job at the Department for Exiting the European Union. A former chairman of the ERG and ex-MEP (who used to enthusiastically thumb his nose at the Brussels institutions), Heaton-Harris is well-known among Tory Eurosceptics – another appointment with a justification in itself but also a message to the Government’s critics.