Reshuffle Rumour Round-Up

Ken Clarke faced a second weekend being briefed against in the Sundays. Guido can only presume the talk of reshuffle and booting Ken out is coming from an increasingly infuriated Coulson who doesn’t like to see Ministers being hounded by The Sun for being soft on crime. Very new politics.

Philip Hammond isn’t having a good time either. While admittedly snow is out of his control, after all the fuss the Tories made in opposition when divine intervention ruined a government media grid, you would have at thought at least some sort of contingency plan would have been thought up. The betting markets moved when the PMOS had to defend him this morning.

While it would be very hard for Dave to fire Ken Clarke, there’s bound to be a shot across his bow. Rumour is that his junior ministers, Crispin Blunt and Jonathan Djanogly and Lord McNally face the chop, with David Laws being lined up to come and shake up the department. A hang ’em and flog ’em Tory backbencher is also expected to be deployed to dilute “soft” Ken. Still no word on when Laws will receive his expected slap on the wrist from the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, but bad news for those who put their money on a return before Christmas

Agreeing With Tom Watson

Well it’s taking some getting used to for Guido, but Tom Watson is certainly taking to his new role as chief-thorn-in-the-coalition-side. One of the benefits of going from government to opposition is you know where the bodies are buried. He knows his way around the Cabinet Office too. Though he seems to have been stonewalled on getting the government hospitality wine cellar list published, he is aiming slightly higher now…

First there was his report on government cars and who has actually given them up and who hasn’t, now this morning he has released his research into private offices and found Hague costs the taxpayer three times more than Vince Cable. Caveats like security and breadth of brief aside, it makes for an interesting read. No surprise that Caroline Spelman feels she needs twelve personal staff to assist her at DEFRA.

Catty Cabinet Clash

While Liam Fox vs. No. 10 may be the more high-profile simmering cabinet tension, it is no secret that Michael Gove and Andrew Lansley despise each other. This is no new feud, there was talk of a muttered “see you next Tuesday” from Lansley after a Shadow Cabinet meeting a few years back and both men are equally contemptuous of the other’s ability and intellect.

After the recent bad few weeks Gove has had, taking quite a battering and generally looking glum, there is apparently one smiling, happy, ring-fenced, Secretary of State reaffirming his predictions of “I told you so”. Yes, Guido hears Lansley is positively beaming every time he has the opportunity to preach to the odd MP that he always knew Gove would be a disaster…

Gordon's Cabinet Jaunts Live On

Gordon’s strategy of taking the Cabinet on away-days to marginal seats looks set to continue under Dave. Tomorrow he will convene his first Cabinet at an as of yet unannounced location. When these expeditions were set up the Tories called them ascandalouswaste of taxpayers’ money. “The cabinet taking a day trip out of London is not going to solve Britain’s economic problems” said George Osborne in 2008. Guess he will be staying home at No. 11 tomorrow then?



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