11.24am: Jacqui Smith looks like she’ll almost certainly be the first female Home Secretary.

James Purnell, who has been a familiar face in the media recently, replaces Tessa Jowell as Culture, Media & Sport Secretary – a brief the former BBC man has been an adviser to Blair on. It’s not clear if he will take on her Olympics brief as well.

10.50am: Peter Hain to get Work and Pensions so what will John Hutton get?

10.48am: Alan Johnson confirmed as the new Health Secretary.

10.37am: BBC reports John Hutton staying in the Cabinet, Harman to be Leader of the Commons.

10.07am: John Denham – opponent of Iraq war – may return as Home Secretary.

10.05am: BBC is reporting that Shirley Williams was offered a non-ministerial job to tackle nuclear proliferation.  She is still considering whether or not to say ‘yes’.  Williams and Brown holiday together in America.

9.50am: Patten has described talk of him defecting as "drivel".  Rifkind laughed off suggestions that he was defecting.  Bercow is with Tory MPs in members tea room this morning.  Let’s stop the defection gossip!  Slap on own wrist included.

9.45am: Tory reshuffle expected next Monday or Tuesday.

Douglas Alexander to be International Development Secretary – he’s going to find it difficult to coordinate Labour’s General Election from Mozambique!  It’s a bit of a bad message to send about international development, too.  Is Brown’s commitment to Africa only worth a part-time Cabinet minister?

Thursday 8.20am: Nick Robinson has just been on the Today programme and has given his take on the reasons for some of Brown’s likely appointments today:

  • Darling is dull and boring and voters want someone reassuring in charge of the nation’s finances;
  • Miliband is going to the FO despite/ because he was furious at the Lebanon war and was never a real believer in the Iraq war (if true, the White House ain’t going to be happy);
  • Alan Johnson is going to health because Brown thinks the NHS isn’t so much in crisis but has very bad PR and Johnson, as a great communicator, will be able to calm voter anxieties;
  • Ed Balls will go to schools and skills because that is where the new PM thinks change is really necessary and the Chancellor’s long-time key ally is the man to deliver it.

Thursday 8am: This is what the newspapers are thinking this morning:

  • Darling certain for Treasury, Miliband for FO
  • Some sort of role for Baroness (Shirley) Williams
  • As well as Beckett and Hewitt, Baroness Amos will be the third Blairite woman to leave the Cabinet
  • Jack Straw will replace Lord Falconer at the new Justice post
  • Alan Johnson will move to Health
  • Ed Balls to schools although the Education Department will be thinner as there is likely to be a new science department within a wider reorganisation of government machinery (Ben Brogan says James Purnell may get the higher education part of the education portfolio)
  • Ed Miliband to the Cabinet Office
  • Geoff Hoon, that great survivor, to Chief Whip
  • Des Browne to move
  • Harman may be Leader of the House as well as Party Chair according to The Times’ Sam Coates.

10pm: Growing speculation that Chris Patten may defect.

5.45pm: The Spectator blog is tipping Miliband to succeed Beckett.

5.25pm: It is confirmed that Blair will be quitting as Sedgefield’s MP.  That’ll stretch the LibDems’ by-election operation.

5.05pm: Tony Blair will be Middle East envoy for The Quartet.

4.40pm: Hewitt to stand down as Health Secretary. No big surprise but still very welcome.

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