"David is strong enough to do anything he wants to do now."
That’s the view of one "insider", quoted by Melissa Kite in The Sunday Telegraph. A malicious insider? Ms Kite says that the chief casualty of David Cameron’s strength might be Dr Liam Fox. In January ConservativeHome broke the story that there were tensions between the Shadow Defence Secretary and David Cameron with Liam Fox inclined to be much more hawkish. A leading member of CCHQ has also complained that Dr Fox is indiscreet in his discussions about Tory strategy with journalists.
ConservativeHome hopes that the Kite story is nonsense and that if there are differences between Dr Fox and the Tory leader that they can be worked out. Dr Fox has performed well in the defence brief – highlighting the energy security issue, the need for better care of servicemen’s families and immediately saw the error in the Navy allowing the sale of those sailors’ stories. His leadership election pitch was also consistent with David Cameron’s subsequent strategy. Liam Fox emphasised mending the broken society, leaving the EPP and supporting marriage. Key Cameroonian Michael Gove wrote about the closeness of the two candidates’ strategies at the time. He called for Fox and Cameron to form a change alliance. The two men now need to sit down and resolve any tensions. David Cameron cannot afford the grassroots’ third most favoured member of his frontbench and one of the party’s most effective communicators to be frozen out of the top team.
Kite’s kite-flying article continues with other reshuffle thoughts. Hague to be demoted. Davis’ empire to be broken up. Greg Clark, Michael Gove, Nick Herbert and David Ruffley all to win promotions. Read the article yourself but it looks like a lot of unhelpful speculation to me.
10.30am update: Iain Dale has fisked
David Ruffley’s Sunday Telegraph story.