David Cameron has sent the Cabinet’s safest pair of hands to the Ministry of
Defence. Philip Hammond, a robust Euro-sceptic with a belief in firm fiscal management, will bring calm and stability to the department. He’s also the Cabinet minister most likely to be able
to sort out the longstanding problems of defence contracts going hugely over budget. As a close political ally of George Osborne, Hammond will be well placed to win extra funding for the department
in the, sadly increasingly unlikely, event of the public finances having been put back on a sound footing by the end of the parliament.
Hammond is followed at Transport by Justine Greening. Greening voted for Fox in the 2005 leadership election. But, in recent years, she has become a trusted part of the Osborne operation.
Greening has been promoted from being number five in the Treasury team to being Secretary of State for Transport. Her elevation is a sign of how highly Number 10 rates her media skills. She also
increases the number of women in the Cabinet as the Tories try to arrest the falling away of their support among female voters.
It’ll be intriguing to see who is now brought into the Treasury team. By rights, it should be Greg Hands, Osborne’s PPS who only missed out on a ministerial job because of coalition.
But Hands has been so good as a PPS that Osborne might be reluctant to move him from that role. Osborne might also believe that he needs to have at least one woman on his Treasury team.