ConservativeHome understands that a Government reshuffle will take place this week, starting at Cabinet level tomorrow and moving on through the rest of the Ministerial ranks. Today’s papers are full of tips for promotion and demotion – see our newslinks – but we would rather make a single core point about it than re-list names. It is that who the shuffle affects is less important than what it does. In our view, the shuffle should have five main aims, in order to give the Government the sense of purpose it presently lacks: namely, to –
- Clarify the post-Brexit economic aims of the Government, put policy in the hands of Ministers who believe in them, and reinforce the links between the Treasury and a beefed-up Business department.
- Give planning for contingency – deal or no deal – the priority it needs by ensuring that the Minister responsible has the right to attend Cabinet.
- Endure that Housing has the priority it needs, by ensuring that it has its own representation in Cabinet.
- Appoint a Party Chairman with the seniority and clout radically to reform it, in order to reverse the decline in membership and support, and provide an alternative voice in civil society to Labour’s
- Strengthen the standing and morale of the Whips Office.
- (Our main recommendations for personnel are here.)
We will find out tomorrow how accurate the briefing in today’s papers is, but it appears that there will be less change at the top of the Ministerial ranks than lower down. If so, there is a danger that even fewer voters notice the changes than usual, and that the reshuffle ends up as a wasted opportunity. Bringing on more women, rising stars and members of the 2015 intake – or even perhaps this year’s – will bring less gain than it should if such moves are not part of a coherent plan.