A new YouGov poll for The Sunday Times gives the Conservatives a whopping 22% lead. The temptation for David Cameron will be to take no major risks with policy and personnel. The likeliest personnel change is, however, a change of Party Chairman.
The Mail on Sunday is reporting anger amongst unnamed female MPs at a "whispering campaign" against Mrs Spelman. Mrs Spelman’s defenders attack private briefings in which her axeing is said to be "certain". In the current environment where voter tolerance of political sleaze is at breaking point, even the slightest criticism of Mrs Spelman in the forthcoming report into the employment of her nanny will result in her resignation. A ConservativeHome poll of 1,470 party members carried out on 30th June to 5th July shows overwhelming support for Eric Pickles to replace her by the time of the Party Conference:
The Mail on Sunday quotes a defender of Mrs Spelman as saying that appointing Eric to the top job at CCHQ would be "a major setback to Mr Cameron’s attempt to change the party’s ‘white male’ image." But, it could equally be argued, that Mr Pickles does much more to tackle perceptions that the Tories are too southern and too elitist. Promotions for Maria Miller and Justine Greening – who has performed a first class task on VED – would also show that Mr Cameron remains committed to promoting female talent.
Mr Pickles has come under fire from some CCHQ insiders for being too willing to take the glory for the victory in Crewe and Nantwich but the overwhelming view of colleagues and staffers is admiration. Not an easy man to categorise politically, Mr Pickles is not ‘of the right’ in the way that David Davis is but his appointment would restore some of the balance that was lost when Mr Davis left David Cameron’s top team. Mr Pickles would be a superb, campaigning Party Chairman for the Conservatives in a run-up to the General Election. We hope he gets the nod.