Iain Dale suggested five names for inclusion in the shadow cabinet yesterday: Greg Clark, Damian Green, Ed Vaizey, Maria Miller and David Burrowes. We agree with all of those suggestions although Justine Greening is a more likely bet than Damian Green. Greg Clark is certainly one of the party’s most outstanding talents (we tipped him for the top on 3rd January). Alongside Michael Gove, Nick Herbert and Jeremy Hunt (our three to watch) he will be one of the party’s biggest guns in the years to come. David Burrowes is another excellent tip and it would be good to see him go to a post like international development. David has believed for a long time that international development should be central to Conservatism and he would lift its status enormously.
More difficult for David Cameron is who to remove from the top table. He may make one or two demotions but is unlikely to drop five shadow cabinet members. Caroline Spelman – regardless of the outcome of the inquiry into her employment of her nanny/ secretary – is very vulnerable. Most party members would like to see her replaced by Eric Pickles.
Away from the shadow cabinet, who would you like to see promoted from the backbench to the frontbench?
Top of our list would be another Greg, Greg Hands. Greg is hugely industrious and played an important behind-the-scenes role in Boris Johnson’s campaign and has also been part of the extraordinary Tory revival in Hammersmith & Fulham. Stephen Crabb is another MP deserving of the frontbench. A role consistent with his interest in human rights, international development and foreign affairs would be a particularly good match.
We’d also like to see rehabilitation for some of the talent that has left the frontbench for different reasons during David Cameron’s leadership. We think of Graham Brady (who left on a matter of principle), Mark Field and, of course, Patrick Mercer. Restoring one or more of this group to the frontbench – Mark Field would be excellent on economic and legal issues, for example – would show that there was a way back into Team Cameron even if there had been a difference in the past.