In many ways the ‘big Conservative tent’ is functioning again under David Cameron.  Big beasts like Michael Heseltine, Ken Clarke, IDS and John Redwood were all used in the policy review process.

In other respects, however, Project Cameron is built around far too tight a circle.  Frontbenchers complain that they are not involved in their development of their policy briefs.  Very few of the party’s big economic brains have been actively consulted by the leadership on the current challenges.  The shadow cabinet rarely takes important decisions.  David Cameron has no equivalent of the Policy or Strategy Boards that ensured that MPs rather than advisers ‘owned’ the big political calls4.30pm: CCHQ has told us that there is a policy board. Its membership is:

  • William Hague
  • Oliver Letwin
  • David Cameron
  • George Osborne
  • Philip Hammond
  • Francis Maude
  • PLUS The relevant shadow cabinet minister when his/her policy area is under discussion.

Our apologies for that.

It is difficult to run a party and impossible to run a government when the leader’s inner circle remains relatively closed to outside advice.  We’ve worried about this before and it remains a problem.

> Step 1/10: Tories need to explain their macroeconomic strategy for the recession

18 comments for: The Cameron circle needs to be bigger

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