One can see why the idea of Iain Duncan Smith as Justice Secretary appeals to some in Tory high command, as the Daily Mail reveals this morning. The former leader is one of the few people who could square the party to a policy that treated rehabilitation as the main aim of the penal system. I expect, though, that IDS himself would not be keen on the move.
But this story does illustrate one of the biggest problems that Cameron will face with his reshuffle, how to make room at the top. Among Tory ministers, there promises to be very little movement in the higher echelons of government.
The Chancellor, the Foreign Secretary and the Home Secretary will all stay where they are. IDS and Michael Gove are both determined to stay and finish what they have started at welfare and education respectively.
I also suspect that Andrew Lansley is safe; in private, the PM has conceded that moving him would make it look like the health reforms were a mistake. As for defence, Cameron will want Philip Hammond to stay there and impose some budget discipline on the department.
This leaves Justice as the biggest Tory ministry that might see a change. But even here, I think there’s a chance that Ken Clarke stays in place. Clarke himself certainly expects to still be in the Cabinet come the autumn and it is hard to envisage him relishing being Leader of the House which would require him to sit on the front bench for hours on end.
If there is to be little change at the top, then it is essential that the reshuffle further down the government is a thorough affair. The junior ministerial ranks need more radicals who know how to get things done and how to make their case to the public.Tags: ministers, Reshuffle, UK politics