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Coffee House

Michael Gove’s campaigning job

23 April 2014

6:22 PM

23 April 2014

6:22 PM

Who will go where in the forthcoming reshuffle? Guido suggests that Michael Gove could be in for a move to party chairman, given all his major reforms have either been implemented or blocked by the Lib Dems. Number 10 has certainly told Gove that he will be playing an increasing role in the general election campaign: I understand this was made clear to him in the winter of last year, which would explain why David Cameron was quite so cross about the Education Secretary’s comments to the FT about Etonians.

Cameron recognises that Gove is a smooth media performer who doesn’t wilt under the heat of the studio lights, or under the heat of a grilling from top interviewers. So he’ll be doing plenty more interviews in which he pumps the Conservative message out as clearly and calmly as possible, and taking one for the team when the party is in a bit of a pickle. Which sounds a lot like the job of the party chairman, although I’m told that a formal move to the role isn’t the plan. Grant Shapps looks as though he’s set to stay put, particularly after he really did take one for the team and toughed it out when he was initially blamed for the Treasury’s silly bingo poster.

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Ken Clarke, meanwhile, is as much of a dead cert for a move as can be, with even his friends talking about him leaving his job as though it will definitely happen and will be a good thing. It would also be an excellent place to station a good robust eurosceptic, as part of Clarke’s roving brief involves European reform.

And some ministers have remarked to me that Iain Duncan Smith seems a little less enthusiastic about spending the rest of his life in the DWP, although it may be that he remains Work and Pensions Secretary until 2015, and then moves if the Conservatives remain in government after the general election. Any move would alarm supporters of his Universal Credit reform, who suspect that it has been put on ice as much as possible to placate IDS until it is easier to scrap it.

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