So, you’ve been demoted from your Cabinet-attending role as Tory party chairman to a lowly junior ministerial role at DfiD. Do not fear! Here is your how-to guide to getting back round the Cabinet table in just three easy steps:
The government’s decision on airport expansion is a step closer post-election. The LibDems – most importantly Vince Cable – are out and Boris has been given a role where he would not have to resign if the Tory government backs Heathrow. A decision could be made in the next few months…
One person who would surely have to honourably fall on her sword if the government chooses Heathrow is Justine Greening. As MP for Putney, opposing a third runway was her main local campaign for re-election. As she says on her website, “Justine has led our community’s campaign against extra aircraft noise from an expanded Heathrow… Justine will continue to stand up for the thousands of residents who are concerned about aircraft noise”. Could she realistically vote for a Heathrow third runway?
Who is the junior minister at DfiD who could step up to fill the vacant Secretary of State position in an emergency? Ah yes, the minister of state, one Grant Shapps.
Barring any brewing personal scandal that might slight his good character, there is a route back to the Cabinet table…
Unprecedented footage as Dave lets the cameras into Number 10 to film Cabinet for the first time…
And here they all are…
Or are they celebrating?
The famous cabinet disrupting musical watch has finally been shown to the world…
It has been widely reported today that Danny Alexander and Vince Cable are barely on speaking terms, with the Mail this moring added that the tension boiled over last Tuesday at Cabinet. Guido hears that Vince was giving a presentation on SMEs when Grant Shapps and Oliver Letwin turned on the Business Secretary, suggesting that while the government is ‘bureaucracy busting’ Cable is ‘doing the opposite at BIS’ and ‘creating new red tape’. Much to the surprise of everyone, not least Vince, Alexander then weighed in on the attack, agreeing that Cable should be doing more to tackle red tape. Guido’s eyes and ears in the room say Uncle Fester got incredibly defensive and looked even more miffed than usual by the end. No wonder he’s grumpy this week.
“For as many years as Britain has had a centralised civil service we have been rather good at collecting information. From the first censuses in 1801 to the creation of the Central Statistical Office by Winston Churchill, the amount of information gathered and held by Government has exponentially increased as our society has become more complex. Today we hold raw information on everything from pupil performance by class, crime levels on every street in the country and the success rate for every single operation in your local hospital. We can even tell at the touch of a button how late your train into work is likely to be.”
Big Brother is watching you…
Millionaire Cabinet Secretary Caroline Spelman spent a year’s salary on a botched injunction the last time her son went off the rails, but ‘roid-popping Jonny’s latest embarrassment has been laid bare for all to see. The disgraced England rugby prodigy posted a video online claiming the Environment Secretary is kicking him out of the family home, then begs for money to support his new chosen career: body-building. According to the Daily Star Sunday Jonny has dropped out of his £31,000-a-year boarding school, moaning:
“My aim is to be the biggest guy there ever was…basically you know I wanna be the next Mr Olympia. Obviously this does come at a price, I’m afraid, as I’ve chosen bodybuilding as my life and my parents have sort of decided that they’re not happy with that. They’ve told me eventually I’m gonna have to move out and they’ve stopped supporting me financially.”
With Dave leaving his daughter in the pub and Spelman leaving her son out in the cold, family breakdown is spreading throughout the Cabinet. Did someone say Broken Britain…
The choices were apparently based on their character:
- David Cameron – Great Expectations & Hard Times
- Nick Clegg – Oliver Twist
- William Hague – The Uncommercial Traveller
- Andrew Mitchell – Dombey and Son
- George Osborne – A Tale of Two Cities
- Danny Alexander – Hard Times
- Kenneth Clarke – Little Dorrit
- Theresa May – Little Dorrit
- Justine Greening – Dombey and Son
- Philip Hammond – Dombey and Son
- Vince Cable – A Christmas Carol
- David Willetts – The Haunted Man and Ghost’s Bargain
- Iain Duncan Smith – Oliver Twist
- Ed Davey – Little Dorrit
- Andrew Lansley – Nicholas Nickleby
- Michael Gove – A Child’s History of England
- Eric Pickles – A House to Let
- Caroline Spelman – Bleak House
- Owen Paterson – Pickwick Papers
- Michael Moore – Pickwick Papers
- Cheryl Gillan – Pickwick Papers
- Baroness Warsi – The Old Curiosity Shop
- Francis Maude – The Old Curiosity Shop
- Oliver Letwin – The Old Curiosity Shop
- Lord Strathclyde – Bleak House
- Sir George Young – Bleak House
Lansley left early and paused for the cameras.[…]
The smart money is on Cameron not reshuffling until after the Olympics and opting for a quick yellow for yellow swap if Huhne is forced out, but that hasn’t stopped some intriguing ideas being floated around Tory circles. Firstly there was the hilarious “bigging up” of Sarah Teather, whose civil servants give a very different picture from the one painted in Black Dog:
“Small but perfectly formed Lib Dem Schools Minister Sarah Teather is being tipped by friends of Michael Gove to succeed Chris Huhne as Energy Secretary if he is forced to quit over his speeding offence wrangle.
Vince Cable has taken to the pages of the FT to brief against Thresesa May and Iain Duncan Smith:
An ally of Mr Cable said: “Vince really wants to come forward with a good package for business this autumn but we want to see other departments putting their weight behind these efforts.
- The fifty year old Oxford and LSE graduate has worked for Chancellors Lamont, Clarke and Brown.
- Became Blair’s Principal Private Secretary in 1999.
- Spent 2003 to 2007 at Morgan Stanley
- Returned to the Cabinet Office in 2007 in a strategy role for Gordon.
It was well known that Cabinet Sectary Gus O’Donnell was on his way out, and rumours were afoot that there was some consternation about appropriate candidates to fill his boots. Well it seems the plan is to split up his job instead:
Jeremy Heywood is in the line for the newly defined Cabinet Secretary role, but was expected to get the whole thing.[…]
As reported yesterday, Downing Street have signed off the plans for a mini-shuffle should the CPS press the big-red Huhne button. All talk of the one time leader in waiting being able to cling on, despite a charge, has withered away, even amongst his most loyal Praetorians online.[…]
Last week Guido revealed that Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan might have had a hand in the awkward question to the Prime Minister, asking whether she would be sacked over her opposition to high-speed rail. Given the planned route practically goes through her garden, she is resisting the plans, in the face of collective responsibility. […]