Coffee House

As it happened: the 2014 government reshuffle

15 July 2014

7:59 AM

15 July 2014

7:59 AM

18.59 The reshuffle is over and the dust is settling in Westminster. Catch up on all today’s events in our Evening Blend email, which has just gone out. if you don’t yet subscribe to this free daily update of all the key political events, you can read it in full here and subscribe here. Thanks for following the biggest reshuffle of this Parliament. This live blog is now closing.

18.10 David Cameron has announced the appointment of Tobias Ellwood as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign Office and, with an invitation to look at the list of all today’s ministerial announcements on the GOV.UK website, the end of today’s appointments.


17.51 Michael Gove has just been on BBC News and made a very good fist of sounding pleased—nay, ecstatic—about his new role as Chief Whip. Huw Edwards put to Gove the views of a ‘prominent conservative commentator’ that his job change is ‘an appalling decision which suggests that the Prime Minister is more worried about party management than children’s education.’ (See Fraser at 10:00). Gove said that ‘couldn’t be more wrong’.

17.01 Jo Johnson has been promoted to Minister of State at the Cabinet Office (he remains head of the Downing Street Policy Unit) and Sam Gymiah, a whip, has been appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education.


16.43 James Forsyth has blogged about Michael Gove’s departure from the Department for Education. Has the education reform agenda left with him? Here’s an excerpt:

If the reform agenda is continuing, why not just make Liz Truss Education Secretary? She’s worked with Gove for the past few years as one of his junior ministers and knows the brief well. The decision to give it to a clean skin in Nicky Morgan, previously an effective Treasury Ministers, suggests at the very least a desire to move on from past battles. As for Gove’s new role, it is clear he isn’t being silenced. He is one of the four musketeers who’ll be out and about defending the government and promoting the Tory cause in the broadcast studios between now and the election.

Read James’s analysis here. 16.13 Therese Coffey, Ben Wallace, Damian Hinds and Mel Stride have been appointed as Assistant Government Whips. 16.06 Robert Hutton and Thomas Perry report that Tina Stowell, the new Leader of the House of Lords, will be paid less than her predecessor, Lord Hall. Stowell will draw a Lords Minister of State’s salary of £78,891, while Hall, who was a full member of Cabinet, drew a salary of £101,038 a year. 15.36 Dominic Grieve, the former Attorney General, says that even though there are ‘quite a few things wrong with the ECHR’, ‘there would be consequences’ if Britain decided to pull out – with implications for our standing on the world stage.

15.35 Here’s something we missed earlier – Sky News political editor Adam Boulton swallowed a fly live on air during his coverage of the reshuffle:

15.27 The BBC’s Norman Smith says the reshuffle is over:

15.20 Philip Hammond has given his first interview as Foreign Secretary. He says that other EU members understand Britain’s need for reform and that he thinks significant renegotiation will be possible. He also praised his predecessor saying that under William Hague Britain has again become a ‘powerhouse for international diplomacy’:

15.01 James on what the Gove move means:

James_Forsyth-60x84Michael Gove‘s departure from the Department for Education is the biggest shock of this reshuffle. Tory MPs have been even more surprised by it than they were William Hague’s leaving the Foreign Office.

Downing Street is keen to stress that the education reform agenda doesn’t leave the DfE with Gove. The changes to the junior ministerial line-up at the department bolsters this argument, Nick Gibb—no friend of the teaching unions—returns as Minister of State for schools and Nick Boles, a close ally of Gove and a man brave enough to take on vested interests wherever he finds them, takes over the Skills Brief.

But, if the reform agenda is continuing, why not just make Liz Truss Education Secretary? She’s worked with Gove for the past few years as one of his junior ministers and knows the brief well. The decision to give it to a clean skin in Nicky Morgan, previously an effective Treasury Ministers, suggests at the very least a desire to move on from past battles.

As for Gove’s new role, it is clear he isn’t being silenced. He is one of the four musketeers who’ll be out and about defending the government and promoting the Tory cause in the broadcast studios between now and the election. He’ll also be an influential figure in  Number 10, attending the 8.30am and 4pm meetings as well as sitting on all the key Cabinet committees.

But Gove is no longer running a department and has been separated from his great moral crusade of education reform. One senior Cameroon counters that what’s most important now is winning the next election and bringing Gove into the centre makes that more likely.  If the Tories do win in 2015, I’m told Gove will return to running a big department.

14.40 Here’s Isabel on Nick Gibb‘s appointment: a positive sign for the education reform agenda — and a signal from Downing Street to those it has spurned:

Isabel_Hardman-60x84Nick Gibb’s return to the education department may encourage those who feared Michael Gove’s exit would be the end of the reforming agenda. But it’s also a signal to those who have been sacked. Gibb went at the same time as Tim Loughton in the 2012 reshuffle, but only one of them went rogue. And only one has returned to government. Downing Street wants to encourage anyone sitting scratching their head as their ministerial office has been packed up to not go briefing the media, but to wait until the 2015 election has been won before sailing back into government.

The trouble is that some people who get sacked don’t give a damn about returning to government, and want to go rogue as revenge. And there’s very little the Prime Minister can do about that. The only thing that may keep some quiet is the damage bickering could do to colleagues in marginal seats this close to an election.

14.30 James Forsyth says that Brooks Newmark’s and Nick Gibb’s returns to government show that it is possible to earn forgiveness from David Cameron:

14.28 Ed Vaizey has been promoted to Minister of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – he’ll be responsible for digital industries, while Brooks Newmark has been appointed Minister for Civil Society, a Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office. 13.54 Watch Isabel and the Mirror‘s Kevin Maguire on the reshuffle: 13:33 Here’s Fraser Nelson, Isabel Hardman and James Forsyth on the reshuffle in a special 25-minute View from 22 podcast recorded this afternoon:

13:28 Nick Gibb, the former Minister of State for Schools, has returned to the Education Department in the same role he left in 2012.

13.22 One name tipped for a Cabinet return was Liam Fox, the former Defence Secretary. Fraser has the news that Fox turned down a role a Minister of State at the Foreign Office:

Fraser_Nelson-60x84I can confirm that Liam Fox was offered Minister of State at the Foreign Office with responsibility for India, China and Latin America. He has rejected the offer, even when it was later sweetened with the offer of a place in the National Security Council. Fox, a former party chairman and defence secretary, had been tipped for a comeback and foreign policy is one his great loves (he recently wrote a book, Rising Tides, about the various risks the world faces). So why turn it down?

Read Fraser’s blog here.

13.05 Here’s a round-up of some tweets with reaction to the reshuffle:






12.32 Amber Rudd has been appointed a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Energy and Climate Change; Penny Mordaunt Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government. That makes eight women promoted so far. 

12.28 Former Whip Claire Perry is in as Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport.

12.27 Priti Patel joins the government as a minister at the Treasury:

12.21 Anna Soubry has had a promotion at Defence – she moves from Under-Secretary of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans to Minister of State. 12.13 The reshuffle is hollow and it’s about image rather than ideas – which shows just why five-year parliaments are a bad idea, says Fraser Nelson:

Fraser_Nelson-60x84We’ve just seen why five-year parliaments are a lousy idea in British government. Even David Cameron, it seems, can’t think of a use for his fifth year – so he has reshuffled his team appropriately. All of the appointments here seem to be assembling a Cabinet for spin. James Forsyth counts no fewer than four government ministers whose main duty is to spin: William Hague (Leader of the House) Michael Gove (Chief Whip), Esther McVey (who stays in welfare but attends Cabinet) and Grant Shapps, who stays as chairman. No10 is quite explicit about this. It has just told the parliamentary press gallery that ‘you should expect to see great deal of Michael Gove on your TV radio channels’. Lucky old us. I’d prefer to have seen him reforming education and changing the life chances of pupils.

Read the full post here. 12.09 David Gauke replaces Nicky Morgan as Financial Secretary to the Treasury:

12.03 Fraser is bemused by Nick Boles’ ‘equal marriage implementation’ brief:

Fraser_Nelson-60x84Nick Boles will be responsible for ‘equal marriage implementation’, says the Prime Minister. An interesting phrase – how do you implement marriage? Will he now go around the country telling same-sex couples to put a ring on it? I suppose the PM’s overall point is that he wants to present his tweaking of Tony Blair’s breakthrough Civil Partnerships Bill (adding a word: ‘marriage’) as one of the great achievements of his government.


11.55 Isabel on Nick Boles’ ‘weird appointment’. Is Number 10 trying to neutralise housebuilding as an issue?

Isabel_Hardman-60x84Another weird appointment in this reshuffle: Nick Boles is moving to Matt Hancock’s old job as minister of state for education and business. He does have background in this area: at Policy Exchange his focus was initially on education, and he was director when the think tank produced reports on free schools and the pupil premium. So why is this move weird? Boles is a passionate advocate of the Conservative party building sufficient homes for the next generation. He has used wonderful Macmillan-esque language about this great social need. But though he had no hand in the development of the National Planning Policy Framework, he ended up being the focus of a great deal of rage about the flaws in that planning policy. And though he gave many eloquent interviews and speeches, he was given very little freedom to implement his best ideas. Part of the problem was the phobia of his boss, Eric Pickles, of anything that would upset core Conservative voters but which might build more homes. Pickles wanted to keep the NPPF sealed. Even though the Conservatives have appointed another Policy Exchange planning wonk, Alex Morton, to their Number 10 policy team, this move is a sign that they simply want to neutralise housebuilding as an issue. Which is what they seem to be doing on a great number of issues, including education.

11.53 Part of Nick Boles’ brief will be—apparently—the ‘implementation’ of equal marriage. Boles has already implemented his own civil partnership:

Nick Boles is Minister of State for the Business & Education depts. Part of his brief will be equal marriage implementation. #Reshuffle — David Cameron (@David_Cameron) July 15, 2014

11.38 Nick Boles, the former planning minister, is back in the at the Department for Education and BIS. Mark Harper is back, after his honourable resignation just five months ago, as Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions.

11.35 It looks like Labour’s press machine – not always the most efficacious  – is coping well today, says Isabel:

Isabel_Hardman-60x84Labour’s press machine has fallen victim to the same sort of poisonous briefing seeping out of many parts of the party in recent weeks. But today it appears to be doing pretty well. A reshuffle in a government party is always a tricky proposition for an opposition party, but there is no shortage of briefings and background digging on new ministers going on. And Labour MPs have had a line to take – that this is a reshuffle for the right that will take Britain closer to exiting the EU – since last night. The question is now how will Labour’s shadow frontbenchers deal with their new opponents? Tristram Hunt, for instance, may find it easier to spar with Nicky Morgan in the Commons than he has with Michael Gove, who has been trying to set a record for the number of departmental questions sessions he can endure without answering a single question directly.

11:30 Former Minister of State for Disabled People Mike Penning is the new policing minister:

11.26 Here’s Tina Stowell accepting her Peer of the Year award at the Spectator‘s Parliamentarian of the Year awards in 2013:

11.23 Isabel on the appointment of Baroness Stowell:

Isabel_Hardman-60x84Lords sources are quite surprised by the appointment of Tina Stowell as leader of the House (to replace Lord Hill, who may or may not know that he’s the UK’s nomination for EU commissioner, given he tried and failed to resign in a previous reshuffle). Many thought Earl Howe was a shoe-in for this job. But Stowell’s appointment is a huge tribute to her very calm and impressive performance guiding the Same Sex Marriage Bill through the Commons: something the Spectator gave her an award for.

11.20 Tim Montgomerie of the Times on the reshuffle. He says ‘the personnel might not be interesting, but the policy implications are’.

11.17 Matt Hancock has been promoted to Minister of State at BIS and DECC. He’ll attend Cabinet, replacing Michael Fallon:

11.14 Christine Blower has just been on BBC Politics discussing the appointment of Nicky Morgan as Education Secretary, and the smile on her face said it all: the NUT chief can’t believe her luck.

‘There had been rumours that [Michael Gove] might go earlier… but although it might be a surprise, I have to say it will be a very pleasant one to lots and lots of teachers just before the end of term.’


11.12 Jeremy Wright has been appointed Attorney General.

11.05 Another woman in Cabinet – Baroness Stowell is to replace Lord Hill as Leader of the House of Lords:

11.00 Greg Clark is Minister for Science and Universities and Minister of State at the Cabinet Office. 10.55 Bookies didn’t expect Lord Hill’s nomination (nor did punters):

10.53 James with the news that Lord Hill, the leader of the House of Lords, will be nominated as Britain’s European Commissioner:

James_Forsyth-60x84Lord Hill, the leader of the House of Lords has been nominated as Britain’s European Commissioner by David Cameron. Hill is trusted and respected inside Downing Street, he was part of the 1992 election team on which Cameron and his chief of staff Ed Llewellyn cut their teeth. But he had told friends he really didn’t want to go to Brussels, which is what makes the appointment a surprise. I expect that Lord Hill will be succeeded by a woman as Leader of the Lords, possibly Tina Stowell ​

10.50 Here’s former Foreign Secretary William Hague on his ‘return to writing’ and his desire to help the Conservative Party in his last year in office:

10.38 Isabel has just been on BBC Politics discussing the new women in the cabinet:


‘Now is a pretty good time to give someone with ministerial experience a shot at a really big job like education… It’s really important to suggest to voters that your government has some idea of what normal life is for voters, and having mothers in cabinet is one way of doing that… And now we have Liz Truss and Nicky Morgan who are both mothers.’

Isabel Hardman on BBC Politics

Isabel Hardman on BBC Politics

10.20 Isabel on why Nicky Morgan may be a less toxic option in the election than Michael Gove:

Isabel_Hardman-60x84Number 10 might be insisting that Gove hasn’t been demoted, but one thing that is significant about the change at Education is that it allows the new Secretary of State in that department, Nicky Morgan, to present the same policies in a different package. Jeremy Hunt has done the same job at Health. So perhaps this is a vote of no confidence in Gove in one respect: the Tories think they need someone less toxic to sell their education reforms in the run- up to the election.

10.00 There’s nothing positive about the decision to move Michael Gove from Education Secretary, says Fraser:

Fraser_Nelson-60x84There is no positive gloss to put on Michael Gove’s move from Education Secretary. It’s an appalling decision, which suggests that the Prime Minister is more worried about party management than children’s education. He’ll be replaced by Nicky Morgan – her credentials for education are what, precisely?

Gove was working on this for years before taking the job: he knew exactly what to do which is why he was able to pass his Education Act in 77 days. Morgan will be getting her head around the brief, aided by civil servants who will advise her to stop this reform malarkey and let the empire strike back. The teachers unions will be delighted, as will their allies in the Education Department. They will be able to run rings around the new minister: not because she’s stupid, or lazy. But because education reform is (with welfare reform) the toughest, most complex issue in the British government.

The difference is that in the DWP, the civil servants are on side. Gove was, quite literally, out to get rid of most of the civil servants and then change the department into a free school to make his point. Gove may say that he pulled the genie of school choice out of the bottle. John Major thought so too until Labour was re-elected and abolished the ‘direct grant’ schools (the precursor to City Academies).

Cameron struggles to control his own party, as evidenced by the defeats they keep inflicting on him. So I can see why he has moved Gove into this lesser, parliamentary-based role. And I can see why Gove, ever the loyalist, agreed to do this. But I’m afraid that the speed of reform now slows – and that this reshuffle puts party before pupils.

09.51 News in from James that Michael Fallon will replace Philip Hammond as Defence Secretary:

James_Forsyth-60x84Fireman Fallon has a new role, Defence Secretary. Michael Fallon is the ultimate example of a political second act. Back in May 2010, he had been defeated for the Treasury Select Committee chairmanship by Andrew Tyrie and was contemplating what he could do for the rest of the parliament. This was the second great interruption to his career, he had lost his seat in 1992.
But he then was brought into Downing Street and his ability to put out fires saw him rise rapidly up the ranks and he now finds himself in Cabinet for the first time, 31 years after being elected as an MP .

09.43 What will Michael Gove‘s new role entail? Here’s Isabel with some suggestions:

Isabel_Hardman-60x84Number 10 is insisting that there is no way in which Gove’s move could be seen as anything other than a vote of confidence. A source tells me: ‘He has embedded the reforms already, he’s put them in place, he’s not leaving them halfway through. He has bedded in very important reforms and the Prime Minister’s view is now is the right time for him to move into this new role.’
What will Gove’s new role entail? He won’t just be chief whip. He will also do a great deal more broadcast – which was first reported on Coffee House in April – and will take on a similar central campaign role to William Hague.
Michael Gove was also part of the team who worked with the Prime Minister on the reshuffle over the last couple of weeks, which suggests he has known for a while that he was going to chief whip.

09.40 James with news that Nicky Morgan is the new Education Secretary:

James_Forsyth-60x84Michael Gove‘s move from Education Secretary to Chief Whip is a shock and will cause concern that the education reform agenda is slowing down. But Number 10 is adamant that this is not the case. I’m told that there will be ‘no slowing down on reform’ under the new Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.

09.24 Here’s Isabel’s take on Michael Gove‘s move:

Isabel_Hardman-60x84Michael Gove is, as the teaching union placards have demanded for so long, out. He’s left the education department to take up the post of chief whip. It had long been suggested that Gove was getting a bit bored: he has achieved a great deal in education, but the downside of getting all the big reforms through quickly was that he often had a bit of time on his hands to start fights about the historical interpretation of the First World War. Even some of his closest allies felt he needed to chill out a bit.

Gove is an incredibly loyal servant of the Prime Minister. He has long been someone Number 10 can call upon when there has been an awkward patch for the government and he will quite happily pop up on Today or Marr to defend his colleagues with a calm, unruffled air. He was often told his reward would be great, but seldom saw that come good.

Left-wing teachers who opposed Gove’s reforming agenda might be celebrating, but it is absurd to suggest that his move to chief whip – itself a big job – is a ‘scalp’ for the unions. Gove’s reforms have already been enacted. He has got everything done that he wanted. He has succeeded, and can move on.

This is, by the way, a huge disappointment for Osborne protegé Greg Hands, who had been billed as a dead cert to take over from Sir George Young.

09.20 James again, this time with news of Michael Gove. Education reformists won’t be happy about this one:

James_Forsyth-60x84Michael Gove is gone as education secretary, moving to chief whip. The move is a big blow to the education reform agenda, Gove cared passionately about it and was prepared to drive it through regardless of the political cost to himself. ​As chief whip, he’ll be more part of the Cameron operation. Indeed with Hague as Leader of the House and Gove as chief whip you can see this as a strengthening of the centre, but Gove should have been left to see the job through at education.

09.13 Here’s James’s take on Liz Truss‘s rural credentials:

James_Forsyth-60x84Liz Truss, the new Environment Secretary, sits for a rural seat—there’s a page about farming on her website —so will be fairly up to speed with most of the issues in the Defra brief. I understand that the Tory leadership wants her to also act as a secretary of state for rural growth. She will also be heavily deployed in rural Tory/Lib Dem marginals; CCHQ has recently added a bunch more Lib Dem seats to their target list. But it will be interesting to see how the agricultural sector deals with someone who is as rigorous a free marketer as she is. ​


08.52 All-women shortlists seem to be dominating the discussion. Here’s Isabel on them:

Isabel_Hardman-60x84Ken Clarke was worryingly on message when he spoke on Today. He actually managed to back an idea that the Prime Minister likes, rather than trashing it. He told the programme that he thought all-women shortlists were a good thing to increase the number of female MPs in the Tory party. This is now, as we reported earlier this week, a view shared by David Cameron, who is now considering ‘voluntary’ all-women shortlists.

08.44 After last night’s sackings, here’s an update on who’s in and who’s out:


  • Stephen Crabb -Welsh Secretary (Con)
  • Philip Hammond – Foreign Secretary (Con)
  • Liz Truss – Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Con)
  • John Hayes – Minister for Transport (Con)


  • David Jones – Secretary of State for Wales (Con)
  • Ken Clarke – Minister without Portfolio (Con)
  • Alan Duncan – Minister of State for International Development (Con)
  • Nick Hurd – Minister for Civil Society (Con)
  • David Willetts – Universities Minister (Con)
  • Andrew Robathan – Minister of State for Northern Ireland (Con)
  • Damian Green – Minister for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims (Con)
  • Dominic Grieve – Attorney General (Con)
  • Greg Barker – Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change (Con)
  • Owen Paterson – Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Con)
  • William Hague – Foreign Secretary (Con)
  • Andrew Lansley – Leader of the House of Commons (Con)
  • Bob Kerslake – Head of the civil service
  • Hugh Robertson – Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Con)
  • George Young – Chief Whip and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Con)

8.26 Fraser on the (not very subtle) message conveyed in today’s papers:

Fraser_Nelson-60x84David Cameron has been known to hang Daily Mail front pages on his wall. He will be sorely tempted to do so today – it perfectly captures the vibe he wants to give out. Three older men – Hague, Grieve and Clarke – chopped. Just their heads are shown. And then, on the right, a full-height, confident Esther McVey marching us to war.


If you are a Tory man, it must feel like you are being booted out to make way for an army of hungry women all out for their jobs. This is certainly how No 10 has choreographed the reshuffle: last night was the purge of the grey and the bald, today the rise of the women. And I can see the theatrical merits to all of this. But as I said towards the end of the podcast this morning, it does strike me as rather patronising. The women we’re talking about – Liz Truss, Priti Patel – are some of the most impressive Tory MPs out there.


08.04 The Today programme is reporting that Liz Truss is to join Defra as the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. 08.03 Here’s James with news of one of the first hirings this morning:

James_Forsyth-60x84John Hayes, Cameron’s ministerial liaison with the Tory parliamentary party, is moving to Transport. This move is a sign that Cameron feels his relationship with MPs is now better than it was.

08.00 Good morning. It’s the day of action here in Westminster. We’ve just seen the night of the long knives – for middle-aged Tories in the government. Now for the promotions. Will Britain join the list of countries with female defence secretaries? Will Esther McVey, Liz Truss and Priti Patel  become the new faces of David Cameron’s government? And will any of them much welcome the idea that this is a mission to bring on the women? Fraser Nelson discusses this with Isabel Hardman and James Forsyth in this special edition of The View from 22, The Spectator’s podcast.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • The Masked Marvel

    The BBC and telemocker are ecstatic. Tells us all we need to know about what a good idea this has been. Cameron has just given the country to Labour.

  • Tony_E

    Smart to move Gove from Education and replace him with a softer and possibly more conciliatory figure. The teaching unions will now have to come to the table having had their primary demand met – the removal of Gove. If they still act with the same rancour and lack of engagement, the public will see through it.

    The reforms won’t be undone.

    • Smithersjones2013

      So its smart to put a rookie in charge of one of the most complex and contraversial briefs in this government 10 months before the general election is it?

      • Tony_E

        Absolutely – she doesn’t have to do anything at all. It takes the heat out of it, and all she has to do is hold station for a year and learn the brief. The reforms are already done.

        What’s important is that a man of Gove’s ability can work across the entire spectrum of policy, sticking it up the socialists for 10 months.

        Marr and Humphries can’t keep up with Gove, so what hope do Miliband, Balls or Cooper have.

        • Smithersjones2013

          So you think if she just acts clueless for a year and she’ll be fine?

          As for Gove’s new role, have you seen Gove’s general popularity figures? They are not good. He is one of the least telegenic Minister’s there is. Combine that with Cameron also turning to a Minister (Hague) who is jumping ship (and therefore will be hardly a credible sponsor of the party he is leaving) and what this indicates is desperation on Cameron’s part.

          Cameron is starting to panic!

          • Tony_E

            She doesn’t really have to do anything – just keep the department out of the news for 9 months. Talk softly, keep a low profile.

            Gove however only has the task of making the opposition look stupid, which to be fair shouldn’t be too hard. He doesn’t have to be popular, just convincing and effective. And seeing as the main cheerleaders in the press for the left don’t have the skills to beat him, he’s a good choice for the job.

    • The Masked Marvel

      It’s not about the reforms themselves. They can absolutely be undone by the upcoming Labour Government, as Fraser has explained. The problem now is that Nicky Morgan will have to do the media rounds in the year leading up to the next election without having a clue. The public will see through it.

      She won’t be able to keep the department out of the news because the BBC especially will smell blood in the water.

  • dalai guevara

    Is it Christmas?

    Big GM Paterson OUT
    Headmaster Gove OUT
    Schoolboy Hague goes back to school and learns how to write.
    It must be …

  • MirthaTidville

    See the new Attorney General is Jeremy Wright. Appears to have been a criminal Barrister in the Midlands at one time, not QC etc. Also appears to have had problems in filling out expenses claim forms correctly….Top class appointment

  • Smithersjones2013

    And there is the sucker punch former Ken Clarke SPAD and John Major advisor Lord Hill is sent to Brussels (how responsible was Hill for Black Wednesday one has to ask?). Not only a nobody but likely another Europhiliac nobody. Cameron’s treachery never ceases. So at the meeting tomorrow do not be surprised if the UK gets the Commissioner for Bog Brushes (that’s lower than staplers and office stationery). Cameron might as well have nominated Ashton again for all the use Hill will be!

    • Tony_E

      So you don’t actually know anything about the fella, but already he’s useless.


      • Smithersjones2013

        Well clearly I know far more about him than you do else you would have put me right.

  • Jez

    It seems to be falling to pieces in front of everyone’s eyes.

  • Magnolia

    Perhaps because he was a threat to the leadership ambitions of George Osborne?
    Perhaps because he threatened the largely liberal, lefty, female dominated teaching profession? The PM wants their votes next year.
    Perhaps because he has the best brain in the cabinet?
    This is a very sad loss to those of us who like thinking, courageous radicals although he was wrong on GM.

  • The Commentator

    Cameron has seen the polling data and knows he is going to lose. One last desperate throw of the dice. On the detail: Home Sec’ loses yet another police minister. No one can stand working with the increasingly irritable and ill-looking May, a woman promoted far beyond her capabilities. Not much to do at the FCO now we are governed from Brussels, Fallon at defence to negotiate a good price for our aircraft carriers from India. UKIP now aiming at an open goal in their bid for more Tory votes.

    • Tim Baker

      Sorry but Ukip don’t have the grassroots organisation to win any seats in May 2015

      • Smithersjones2013

        Of course. You Tories can sit smug in that knowledge. You keep thinking that

        • Tim Baker

          I’m not a Conservative, but the Tories totally outclassed UKip in the Newark by-election.

          • Smithersjones2013

            If you call a 15.5% swing from the Tories to UKIP as being outclassed then I think every party would like to be outclassed by the Tories!

            Newark had an enormous Tory majority and if it had fallen to UKIP every Tory seat in the country would have been at risk as it is it will likely be only those seats that best fit the profile (which Newark doesn’t particularly)that will be vulnerable.

            You should stop listening to the propaganda and study the figures

            • Tim Baker

              Do you know if any of the 558 UKIP candidates in 2010 general election came 3rd or 2nd in their seat?

              • Smithersjones2013

                I do but what relevance that has to their grassroots organisation given their membership has increased by over 250% (not to mention the large increase in the number of elected representatives) since 2010 I have no idea….

                What is important is how many 1st, 2nd and 3rds they have in 2015 and the indications are that could be quite a few….

  • Smithersjones2013

    Oh and in other news, inflation rising at fastest rate since January. A good day to bury bad news under worse news?

    • you_kid

      Oh get lost – let us *enjoy* these moments, please.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Oh well, Cameron has made his usual dog’s dinner of things. The Gove thing is a major mistake and Hague jumping ship tells you where he sees the Tory party going.

    Well at least the girlies will get a taste of what its like at the top table before they return to the obscurity of opposition. Nothing more needs to be said….

    • Blindsideflanker

      I wonder if Hague jumping ship tells how superficial it is being at the top of Government now that most of the decisions are taken in Brussels.

  • telemachus


    • Smithersjones2013

      How predictable. If you haven’t got a Welsh woman to hand what’s next best but a Scouse woman….

      • telemachus

        Have a kite fly yourself someday

    • Blindsideflanker


      I have been quite impressed with McVey, she should have steered clear of that dead end Welsh job.

    • MirthaTidville

      Breaking what??..wind??

  • Colonel Mustard

    You do realise that this whole approach to the re-shuffle is sexist and ageist? Mind you that demonstrates the essential hypocrisy and BS that permeates the bubble.

    Your former editors must be turning and squirming at your shallow populism. At a time when you might have offered a voice of reason for merit to be considered above age, gender and race, you join in the silly clamour.

    • HookesLaw

      Don’t be absurd.
      In reshuffles older people leave and younger ones join.
      Fallon is 62
      You are a joke – making up things to froth about as you go along.

      The misogyny of the typical kipper is well evident again on these boards I see.

      • Alexsandr

        good way to p1ss off the silver voters. hmm. let me see. who are more likely to vote, yoof or oldies?

      • Colonel Mustard

        And your essential rudeness is well evident again too.

        I was referring more to the Spectator’s editorial coverage rather than Cameron’s stupidity.

    • dalai guevara

      Colonel, ‘your party’ will do anything to please you. Haven’t they done just that today?

      • Colonel Mustard

        They are my party not, Herr Doolally. Someone else go and pester.

        Plenty of EU-deniers out there must be, deserving of your bad English prose.

        • dalai guevara

          Cunningly, you were made to make my point for me.
          They are no longer anyone’s party.
          Shuffle board anyone – the deck chairs have long been swept away.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Cunningly, eh? You think so? Just shows that you are here to manipulate and cause mischief rather than express an opinion.

            Anyone involved in that lark is the enemy of democracy and truth.

            • dalai guevara

              your cheap shot re: democracy will bear no fruit. I enlightened you long ago what real democracy would look like. How it would affect the Monarchy, the Church, Parliament, our electorial system, our energy markets, our transport infrastructure, our laws of the land made up as we go along. Now is the time to acknowledge that.

              • Colonel Mustard

                That sounds just like your cell comrade dado. Same script I suppose. Surprised you didn’t mention Magna Carta in your attempt to undermine our national identity.

                You couldn’t enlighten scales by stepping off them.

                And as for real democracy it won’t be achieved by pissing about manipulating and causing mischief on blogs to promote your Hunnish Euro-twat agenda “by other means”.

  • Holly

    I will miss William Hague, more than Gove.
    Part of the fixture & fittings.
    I was seventeen when he made his speech at Tory conference all those years ago.
    I wish him well.

  • telemachus

    Thank heavens above
    Gove out of Education
    Thousands and thousands of teachers will sleep easily in their beds tonight
    And millions of parents

    • Smithersjones2013

      You expect party policy to change? Cameron has just put Education into a holding pattern…..

      The big question is what role Gove has been offered in 2015?

      • telemachus

        Please God not anything important

    • Blindsideflanker

      If thousands and thousands of teachers are going to sleep easy, then you know Cameron has made a wrong decision.

    • The Commentator

      Quite right. Gove forgot, the education system is there to serve the interests of teachers not a bunch of kids. Those kids need to get used to the idea they are going to end up poor and unemployed, incapable of competing in a highly competitive globalised world.

  • Decaf T

    there’d better be a decent explanation for moving Gove. this looks terrible.

    • Blindsideflanker

      Cameron capitulating to the vested interests of the Teachers lobby

    • Smithersjones2013

      Gove is supposed to be Cameron’s rebuttal machine in the run up to the election. Gove is amongst the finest politicians he has but has lousy popularity figures amongst the electorate. Cameron has lost the plot…..

    • HookesLaw

      Question – is education policy going to change?
      Answer – No.

      Question – Is Gove in a senior and trusted govt and tory party position?
      Answer – Yes.

      Stop frothing and adding to the march of the hysterics.

      • Colonel Mustard

        It’s a craven capitulation to the left. Look above, the left are already crowing. It will be seen as a vindication that Gove’s policies were wrong.

        You need to fight them, Hooky, not smooch them and agree to their barmy ideas.

        • LadyDingDong

          My dear Colonel, much as it pains me to disagree with you and agree with that Majorite Hookey, I believe you are incorrect – as are Fraser Nelson and most of the political neophytes writing here today. Much as I despise the social democrat Cameron, I hate the leftards and libtards more and what Cameron (no doubt working with Gove and Osborne) has done is smart politics. The excellent Gove was a lightning rod for teachers and Labtard discontent which would have been a distraction leading up to the election. Not much progress would have been likely in education in the next 10
          onths and after a Conservative victory in 2015, the reform will continue, so Gove has done the decent thing for the party and country and will reap his reward next year, as will all sound Conservatives.

          • Makroon

            I agree, and the foolish underestimation of Nicky Morgan is patronising at best, misogynistic at worst.

            PS Gove for the Health Dept in the next government !

          • Colonel Mustard

            “The excellent Gove was a lightning rod for teachers and Labtard discontent which would have been a distraction leading up to the election.”

            That’s rather the point. Running away from that unelected opposition outside Parliament rather than facing down and defeating it is not a great political strategy just before an election.

            • LadyDingDong

              Except they would not have been defeated before the election so it would not have advanced the cause one iota. Sun Tzu would have approved of the strategy: to fight the battles worth winning and delay the ones that caused collateral damage. Gove has won the initial battles but this is a long war of attrition and right now, we need a period of peace in education before the election. The final victory will come in the next term and that fat leftard cow Blower will not be smirking then. After the election Gove, or another reformer can finish the job without the millstone of Clegg and the Libtards and with a majority to force change through. I fundamentally disagree with Fraser and the other Speccie children attacking this reshuffle – I think it is good politics, especially bringing in Penny Mordaunt and Priti Patel. Pity he kept Villiers and that useless tw*t Warsi but all-in-all not a bad job.

              • Colonel Mustard

                Er, you probably won’t win the election and all Gove’s work will be dismantled in a heartbeat. Unlike Cameron the communists have no problem ripping into the previous administration’s leftovers.

      • MirthaTidville

        Morning Hooky, wondered where you were..Slept in??…ooh plenty of `NutJob` comments to attack on the various`ll have to catch up

    • Jambo25

      Gove is Osborne’s man. Moving him to Chief Whip strengthens Osborne’s hold on the Tory MPs and pretty much guarantees that neither May nor BoJo has an earthly in the Tory leadership contest which will follow next year’s failure to gain an overall majority (again).

  • Blindsideflanker

    “that they’re being booted out to make way for an invasive female army of hungry women all out for their jobs. This is certainly how No 10 has choreographed the reshuffle:”

    Cameron yet again playing New Labour’s triangulation game, but where as Blair ensured rank and file had a place in his Labour party, Cameron doesn’t.

  • MirthaTidville

    The bit so far unravelled just confirms how shallow Dave`s thinking really is

  • Smithersjones2013

    there’s a page about farming on her website

    And here it is:

    Farming is a vital industry in the constituency and Elizabeth is working hard to get the best deal for Norfolk’s farmers. Concerns are being raised regarding changes in the implementation of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). As a result of this Elizabeth led a delegation of local farmers to meet Farming Minister George Eustice MP.

    Elizabeth has a number of concerns about the use of
    agricultural land for solar or biomass plants and the subsidies for
    these operations. She does not want to see the UK’s food security
    jeopardised; food and farming is the largest manufacturing industry in
    the UK and she is keen to see that the importance of this sector is

    Elizabeth has also raised with the DEFRA Secretary
    of State her concerns in relation to flooding in her constituency. She
    has long argued that the £1:£8 cost benefit ratio formula provided by
    the Environment Agency for the funding of flood prevention schemes do
    not value farmland high enough.

    High powered stuff ROFLMAO!

    • Tony_E

      I’m not quite sure what you’re complaining about? Are these issues not important ones?

  • Smithersjones2013

    Intriguing that Cameron has demoted Gove to control the rabble on the backbenches. What has Gove been offered in the 2015 reshuffle (given this reshuffle is purely a superficial piece of electioneering)?

  • Smithersjones2013

    According to Wiki the new Education Secretary Nicky Morgan:

    In her spare time Morgan runs, attends her local church and enjoys cooking, skiing and the cinema.

    I’m sure that will help her when she’s battling with the backwoodsmen and women of the NUT. Barely a whiff of education experience (her little one is only six)

    Intriguing how Cameron has repeatedly ignored from addressing the mess May has made of relations with Police and Immigration yets has panicked over Gove’s tough stance on Education.

  • David B

    Owen Patterson as EU Commissioner? Now that would be fun!!!

  • Smithersjones2013

    BBC reporting Gove to Chief Whip. Is Cameron insane?

    • you_kid

      It’s a very clever move: now take your own medicine, *feel* what that’s like.

      • Colonel Mustard

        I see that the EU-funded rebuttal cell of Euro-twats has turned up to peddle their mischief.

        • you_kid

          Please let us enjoy these moments without interference – I still cannot believe Fallon is now away from SME and all the red tape that was clearly too much for him. What happened to that chap’s key achievement? Where is my paperless driving licence?
          Sounds like exactly the right man to place the right orders in the defence industries, dunnit?

          • Colonel Mustard

            You are the ones interfering with other peoples comments.

            • you_kid

              No Colonel, the reality is sinking in, that is all – now Fox turns down a great job. What a day this turns out to be …

              • Colonel Mustard

                Reality and ‘you_kid’ are two mutually exclusive concepts.

    • Jambo25

      Its to make sure that Osborne gets the leader’s job after Cameron tanks at the election next year.

  • fathomwest

    How can Cameron justify keeping Maude and Letwin? The moving of Gove is a disgrace. One of the few who has done a great job. So education can be sacrificed to ensure better press for Cameron..that will backfire.

    • Tim Baker

      Because they are Old Etonians.

  • Smithersjones2013

    So after Brown’s ‘Young Turks’ we get ‘Cameron’s Cougars’

  • Tim Baker

    It’s good to see more women promoted.

    The political dinosaurs need to go.

    • Blindsideflanker

      I believe there were female dinosaurs as well as male . If your point was about politics then you need to explain what political values come from the Triassic period.

    • Adam Carter

      How can you say this? You have no idea what their political achievements are, and you don’t know their strategic view of what future Conservative direction should be.
      Aren’t you just being sexist?

      • Tim Baker

        They are Tory modernisers.

        • Adam Carter

          What does that mean?
          What is their view of the EU?
          What do they think of HS2?
          The NHS?
          Free schools?

          • Tim Baker

            pro-free schools
            pro-Muscular liberalism

  • Smithersjones2013

    The first bad news. Ken Clarke is planning to fight the next election! Jurassic Park will still be denied one of its most bizarre exhibits for just a bit longer.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Based on the mooted reshuffle It is believed that this will be the ‘token’ Tories first election Party Political Broadcast

    Why does Cameron bother with these childish gestures. Too little too late. Whoever is promoted will not have a chance to impress and we know Cameron will likely change it all in 10 months time. Pathetic..

  • JoeDM

    The onward march of the ‘Token Totties’ !!!

  • Blindsideflanker

    Liz Truss Environment Secretary.

    The last outing Liz Truss had on the Politics show was a pretty poor performance, she came across as petulant and incapable of sustaining an argument.