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Coffee House

Reshuffle gossip points to ‘innocents’ and women

12 July 2013

8:50 AM

12 July 2013

8:50 AM

There’s just a week left of the Parliamentary term to go before MPs go back to their constituencies to mull that awkward pay rise over the summer. But one thing that’s keeping Tory MPs from relaxing is the possibility of a ministerial reshuffle next week. The word from reliable sources is that it will take place next Thursday with a sign-off meeting this Monday.

This is a minister-of-state-level reshuffle. The names of supposedly vulnerable ministers are circulating. They include housing minister Mark Prisk, energy minister Greg Barker, universities minister David Willetts, and employment minister Mark Hoban. They’re known as the ‘innocents’: ministers who are all thought to be doing a good job and who have not messed up but who are not considered likely to move up into the cabinet. One source says ‘if it’s not up, then it’s out’. This is a shame because it shows that the reshuffle is as much about giving new people a chance to shine as it is about policy stability. These ministers are responsible for major projects. In particular it would be slightly ironic to move Mark Prisk as housing minister given the emphasis Grant Shapps put on Labour’s indecision over who should be housing minister when he shadowed the portfolio.

This is also likely to be a reshuffle for women: Nicky Morgan is one name in particular worth keeping an eye on. She’s currently in the Whips’ office, but is tipped for greater things.

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