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Thewhip
There’s nothing that the Westminster villagers like more than gossip about personalities.  Reshuffle speculation always gets their juices flowing.  This morning’s Sun diary (right) speculated that the party members’ favourite Tory – William Hague – might soon move into the much more politically potent position of Shadow Chancellor.  Mr Hague would swap places with George Osborne.  Mr Hague, trusted by the right, might be more successful in reassuring the party about the leadership’s softly, softly approach to tax.

There are growing concerns within the Cameron camp that the party’s right is restless.  Those concerns are well-grounded.  Two frontbenchers have told ConservativeHome only today that the party leadership’s failure to address concerns on immigration and crime is regularly being brought up on the doorsteps and is creating more stay-at-homes and opportunities for other parties.  Both the frontbenchers welcomed David Cameron’s green agenda but thought that the overall agenda of the party was "unbalanced".

In terms of the reshuffle, a promotion for Liam Fox would help reassure the right that David Cameron was running a balanced ticket.  There is a feeling on the right that Dr Fox is "hidden away" at defence and needs a more frontline political role.

A CCHQ insider told ConservativeHome that David Cameron may use the summer to move towards the kind of shadow cabinet that he would hope to take to the next General Election.  Mr Cameron is said to not like tinkering and wants his leading frontbenchers to be "well dug-in", masters of their briefs and thus able to outsmart their Labour opposite numbers.  Dominic Grieve – who has worked tirelessly on civil libertarian issues and to improve Tory relations with ethnic minorities – is hotly tipped for a full shadow cabinet place.  His competence and energy are highly regarded across the party.

Michael Gove (who is winning 22% of the ‘Who is the most impressive new Tory MP poll?’ on Iain Dale’s blog) and Nick Herbert may also join the top table in what would be rapid promotions. 

134 comments for: Reshuffle speculation begins…

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