By Paul Goodman
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Tobias Ellwood was Liam Fox's Parliamentary Private Secretary, and I'm reliably told that he is also moving out of the Ministry of Defence. This is rather tough on Ellwood, who's a special interest in defence generally and Afghanistan specifically: he went there frequently before his appointment to the MOD and is well-briefed about the country. Since there's no suggestion that he's implicated in any way in the Fox saga, I think that David Cameron rather owes him one. (By the way, Ellwood was an early Cameron backer in the 2005 leadership election.)
Who will replace him? I'm hearing two accounts. One is that Aidan Burley, who replaced Lee Scott as Hammond's PPS when the latter resigned on principle over tuition fees, will move to the MOD. Burley, a determined campaigner who won Cannock Chase on a big swing, previously worked as a researcher to Hammond so the move seems quite possible. The other is that Clare Perry, one of the group of MPs specially close to George Osborne, has been appointed. Such news would mark another subtle extenson of the influence of George "Smiley" Osborne.
P.S: Credit where credit's due: the ever-vigilant Sam Coates of the Times got there first and has tweeted the story.