Beyond sharing in the delight that Osborne loyalist and current backbencher Matthew Hancock had a busy evening answering prank phone calls from amused colleagues calling him on private numbers, very few details regarding the reshuffle are actually cast in stone this morning. Downing Street have confirmed that Andrew Mitchell will replace Patrick McLoughlin as Chief Whip. The move was not universally welcomed amongst the ranks on the Commons terrace last night.
Guido was heavily tipped at the weekend that the former Chief would not be returning to the backbenches, instead getting a party role. Therefore the latest gossip that McLoughlin will be heading to Transport makes a lot of sense – when Philip Hammond was in the job, he would spend one minute of a TV appearance talking about cars or trains and the rest mopping up the government crisis of the day. From miner to firefighter.
George Young and Cheryl Gillan are reportedly toast and Shapps remains tipped to replace Warsi. Elsewhere outward movement was talked up overnight for Lansley, Spelman and Clarke – all of which remains, thus far, speculation. As of midnight, Guido got heavy kick back on Clarke going completely, but the man himself has remained uncharacteristically tight lipped. Sky claim he turned down Young’s job. Where we will be by the end of breakfast remains to be seen…
UPDATE: Clarke to Minister Without Portfollio, which means Warsi is out of two jobs.