This was a live blog from 4 September 2012. The latest entries at the top and you can scroll down to read the event as it happened.
20:00: That’s all folks – it’s time to close up the blog. Downing Street have released their final list of ministerial appointments today. We hope you have enjoyed our live coverage of David Cameron’s first cabinet reshuffle and do come back to Coffee House for the latest developments from Westminster. Good night!
1938: Looks like Cheryl Gillan’s ex-PPS Glyn Davies is pleased to free from his shackles:
Like frisky young heifer in spring when first turned out to grass – free to gambol. Now my boss has gone, not fettered by PPS restraints.
— Glyn Davies (@GlynDaviesMP) September 4, 2012
1915: More junior roles are being announced. No.10 has just tweeted that Stephen Hammond is leaving the DCLG to become Parliamentary Under Secretary at Transport while Jeremy Wright is heading to Justice and Philip Dunne to Defence.
1835: Fraser is pleased to see Sajid Javid joining George Osborne’s team at the Treasury:
Sajid Javid’s promotion to the Treasury is, for me, the single most encouraging appointment of the reshuffle. It will add zest and heft to a department in need of both. Born to a Lancashire bus driver, he became a vice-president of Chase Manhattan by the age of 25: his story is very much the British dream. He understands business completely, having most recently worked in Singapore for Deutsche Bank before his 2010 election. He needs no tuition in how countries need to compete for people nowadays, nor the damage done by the 52p tax (or the almost-as-bad 47p tax that Osborne is planning). There is an obvious problem when economic policy is written by people who had never hired or fired, which is what drew Osborne to seek advice from Javid. He was previously working for the Chancellor as a parliamentary aide, but there was only so much he could do in that role without any support. Inside the Treasury I expect him to start work on proposals like a British version of Germany’s mini-jobs.
BREAKING Nick Boles is new the Planning minister, replacing Greg Clark, ministerial sources say. Uber-Cameroon loyalist. Sorry
— Christopher Hope (@christopherhope) September 4, 2012
1826: More changes at the Treasury with George Osborne’s PPS Sajid Javid replacing Chloe Smith as Chief Economic Secretary to the Treasury, according to Tim Montgomerie.
1820: The Telegraph have produced a useful interactive graphic on today’s reshuffle, in case you wish wish to recap who is in, out or staying put.
1815: James reveals that Chloe Smith, now ex-economic secretary to the Treasury, is heading to the Cabinet Office under Francis Maude. No doubt she will be looking forward to meeting Jeremy Paxman again in her new role:
1805: Joining Liz Truss, members of the 2010 intake Helen Grant, Anna Soubry and Esther McVey have also joined the government as Parliamentary Under Secretaries.
1756: Times are certainly about to get tougher for Vince Cable. Joining Michael Fallon, ex-Osborne aid Matthew Hancock is heading to the Department of Business, according to Tim Montgomerie:
Good news that
@matthancockmp will be joining Fallon at BIS. Tory tanks on Cable’s lawn.
— Tim Montgomerie (@TimMontgomerie) September 4, 2012
1740: The Tories’ prince across the water has tried his best to seize the day. It looks like Boris Johnson isn’t very happy about Justine Greening’s move away from Transport:
‘There can be only one reason to move her – and that is to expand Heathrow Airport. It is simply mad to build a new runway in the middle of west London. Nearly a third of the victims of aircraft noise in the whole of Europe live in the vicinity of Heathrow.
‘Now it is clear that the Government wants to ditch its promises and send yet more planes over central London. The third runway would mean more traffic, more noise, more pollution – and a serious reduction in the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people. We will fight this all the way.’
His statement raises the interesting question of just who ‘we’ is. Zac Goldsmith for one has been rather bullish about today’s personnel shift:
Real leadership requires clairty, not subterfuge. It’s time for the Govt to be honest: has it changed its view on Heathrow; yes or no?
— Zac Goldsmith (@ZacGoldsmith) September 4, 2012
If the government has indeed changed its view over a third runway, it can expect quite the fight from both Goldsmith and Johnson.
1735: And just as Fraser predicted earlier this afternoon, Free Enterprise Grouper Liz Truss is heading into government:
Liz Truss to early years education. Big chance for her to push her plan to cut the cost of childcare by reducing red tape
— James Forsyth (@JGForsyth) September 4, 2012
1730: James notes that the changes to the junior ministerial ranks are all designed to give ‘real impetus’ to the coalition’s autumn economic agenda. In particular, he suspects that the ministers in these posts ‘will be the ones with the best chance of making a name for themselves and Cabinet in future shuffles.’
1724: Simon Hughes has announced he was approached to take on a government position but decided to turn it down. He said in a statement:
‘There have been discussions about a job for me in government after this reshuffle. I am very grateful to have been considered. I have decided that at this stage in this parliament I wish to continue in my elected role as the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Commons, fully supporting Nick Clegg and my colleagues in parliament and our party throughout the country. I want to continue to make sure that is a strong voice in our party’s leadership team which can promote Liberal Democrat priorities from outside government.’
It’s a wise move by the deputy leader, who will have an eye on his survival in post–2015 more than the trappings of power in 2012.
1720: James also has some more information on the reshuffle inside Downing Street, including the new deputy Chief of Staff:
Oliver Dowden, who currently links up Number 10 and CCHQ, is becoming deputy Chief of Staff. I’m told that Dowden, widely regarded as one of the ablest operators in the Conservative party, will have a particular emphasis on ensuring that domestic policy is driven through the government machine. The move is a recognition that Number 10 needs to start watching departments more closely if it is to get through the changes it needs to kick-start the economy and cement its reform agenda.
1710: Fraser reports some exclusive information on the Tory women rising in the reshuffle:
I understand that Helen Grant and Anna Soubry will soon be made members of the government, as David Cameron tries to make up for sacking three of the five female Cabinet members. Liz Truss, head of the Free Enterprise Group of Tory MPs, is also tipped for promotion…it’s difficult to understate how concerned David Cameron is about his standing with female voters, and if he dropped Cheryl Gillan, Caroline Spelman and Sayeeda Warsi from the Cabinet he would have had to offset this even more women promoted into the government
1700: Isabel has been to the lobby and this is what she found out:
I’ve just returned from the afternoon lobby briefing where, as well as confirming a number of appointments at minister of state level, Number 10 gave some more details on how the reshuffled government will work. There was an amusing exchange about Sayeeda Warsi’s appointment as a ‘senior minister of state’: a title that has not been used before to describe a minister. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman would give no more details when asked what a senior minister of state was, whether this meant all other ministers of state were junior to Warsi, other than saying repeatedly: ‘She is a senior minister of state.’
He described the reshuffle as one that ‘seeks to look to the future, bringing in some of these new people into the team and also ensuring that we have the right ministers in place to deliver the government’s programme’.
1645: Jonathan Jones provides a Lib Dem perspective on today’s appointments:
Of course Lib Dems will be glad that David Laws — one of the party’s smartest and strongest MPs — is making his long-awaited return to government. They’ll also be pleased to see Norman Lamb at the Department of Health — he was the party’s health spokesman for three-and-a-half years and has long championed mental healthcare provision. He also, significantly, threatened to quit his government role as Clegg’s advisor unless Lansley’s NHS reforms were watered down. With Jo Swinson moving into Lamb’s old job at BIS, Clegg has also promoted another of the party’s brightest stars and strongest media performers.
At the same time, party members will be worried about what will happen to Justice — with the loss of human rights-friendly Ken Clarke — and to the equalities brief (and the equal marriage agenda) now that Maria Miller has been appointed Minister for Women and Equalities. That post was held by Theresa May, but Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone had taken the lead in her role as Home Office minister. Lib Dems — and equal marriage proponents — will be very worried if Featherstone loses that brief (she’s rumoured to be DCMS- or DCLG-bound), particularly as Miller has voted against equal rights in the past.
1625: Nick Herbert was one of the government’s most innovative thinkers and may establish himself as one of the most reformist voices on the backbenches, says James:
Nick Herbert’s departure deprives the government of one of its most innovative thinkers. Herbert, who had been double hatting between the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, was the minister who pushed through crime maps and elected Police and Crime Commissioner.
He departs, as Steve Hilton did, in frustration at a lack of support for radicalism. One friends of his points out that Number 10 and CCHQ have done ‘close to f all’ to help on Police and Crime Commissioners with the result that the Conservatives have been left with a set of underwhelming candidates. It also didn’t help that Herbert, as Pauline Neville Jones did, had an extremely tense relationship with Theresa May.
1540: James has news of more shuffling:
Nick Herbert quits in reshuffle. Mark Harper to immigration, Damian Green to policing
— James Forsyth (@JGForsyth) September 4, 2012
No 10 shuffle: CCHQ favourite Olive Dowden to become deputy chief of staff, role will be to ensure that change is driven through the system
— James Forsyth (@JGForsyth) September 4, 2012
1538: Isabel has had an interesting chat with Angie Bray, who was sacked as a PPS during the Lords rebellion:
…Bray thinks David Cameron has got one ‘last chance’ to set firmer boundaries with the Liberal Democrats:
‘I think it’s extraordinary that Nick Clegg should be keen to throw away a convention for ministers that has held for years just for this one thing. There is too much Lib Dem creep here. I think we should have started as we mean to go on and said to them, look, this is not a 50/50 balance, we make up x per cent of this coalition and that will be the basis on which we are going to do business. Maybe now is the last chance at it because of the reshuffle.’
Another Tory backbench rebel said to me when Mitchell was appointed that ‘they can change personnel but the problem is at the top’. And one MP who recently revolted on the Lords reforms suggests that it’s not so much that the whips need to be more aggressive in maintaining party discipline: they should actually take some time make backbench ‘drudges’ feel loved, as should ministers
1530: Some manoeuvres over at the Department for Business. Lib Dem Jo Swinson is stepping up to replace Norman Lamb (see below) while deputy chairman Michael Fallon is joining to bring some Tory metal to battle Vince:
Me to source; ‘so Fallon is being sent to give Vince a kicking?’Source; ‘Erm, well if you wanted to interpret it that way, I wouldn’t demur
— tom bradby (@tombradby) September 4, 2012
1500: Isabel looks at the why Paul Burstow (replaced by Norman Lamb) might have moved on from the Department of Health:
Moving Paul Burstow from Health is wise, given he has spent a considerable amount of time over the past year running a bizarre campaign against his own department. Burstow has been very vocal locally against the closure of the accident and emergency and maternity units at St Helier Hospital. This has prompted complaints from Labour that he was in danger of breaching the Ministerial Code.
1445: Today’s reshuffle leaves fewer women in the cabinet. As the Telegraph reports, the Fawcett Society says the number of women has dropped by 20 per cent in one swoop. This is a point Cameron’s critics have been quick to pick up on:
So looks like 3 of 5 women (Spelman, Gillan, Warsi) & 1 of 19 men (Young) sacked from cabinet posts. Shows Cameron’s attitude to women
— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) September 4, 2012
14:15: Our gossip blogger Mr Steerpike has word of outside forces playing a hand in the reshuffle:
Word reaches Mr Steepike that Danny Finkelstein played a decisive role in the reshuffle. As is widely known, Danny speaks to George Osborne regularly and those inside Whitehall know that what he says (or writes) today you can normally expect Osborne to say or do tomorrow. So when he started explaining to Newsnight viewers the rationale for moving Iain Duncan Smith from DWP to Justice it became clear that this was what was going on.
14:00: It’s also worth remembering that Justine Greening said it would be ‘quite difficult for me’ to remain in a Cabinet position – not specifically Transport Secretary – if the government U-turned over Heathrow. She may not be a blockage to building a third runway anymore, and neither is Theresa Villiers, but if Cameron does decide to take the hit on this and press ahead with expansion now that Patrick McLoughlin is in post, then Greening is likely to resign from her new post as International Development Secretary.
13.40: This has been widely expected all morning, but the Mirror’s James Lyons reports that Sarah Teather is leaving the government to fight for her seat in Brent. Isabel says:
Even without the boundary changes, Sarah Teather faces a rocky ride at the 2015 election as her majority in the constituency is only 1,345. She has struggled to maintain composure over some of the government’s policy which she viscerally opposed, and managed to go AWOL on the day of a key vote on the £26,000 benefit cap for workless families. I’ve always wondered why she didn’t take a public stand at the time and resign over the cap, given it affects her constituents, who she needs to impress.
Lib Dems in parliament argue that Teather was good at fighting her corner on child poverty issues within government, and she did enjoy some success at blocking plans by Conservative ministers to abandon certain targets. But her replacement, David Laws, would be even more effective at standing up to Gove on certain issues. There is still some way to go, for instance, in finalising the detail of GCSE reform. As Fraser suggested earlier, there’s a chance he could be taking a role in education to try to force more of a Lib Dem education agenda, disrupting certain policies which are already popular. I’ve already argued that for the sake of harmonious government, Laws might have been more effective in a minister without portfolio position.
13:20: James has blogged his initial thoughts on what the reshuffle means:
Iain Duncan Smith’s decision to stay at DWP means that the reshuffle is not quite as radical as some in Downing Street were hoping it would be. But it still represents some significant shifts. First, party discipline and morale have been prioritised. Andrew Mitchell will lead a more robust Whips office and Grant Shapps will be an energetic chairman
…In policy terms, there appears to be a well-calibrated move to the right. Chris Grayling will argue for rehabilitation from a distinctly Conservative point of view. The departure of Greening and Villiers from Transport paves the way for the Tory side of the coalition at least to commit to doing what it takes to increase aviation capacity in the South East.
…The biggest actual move of the reshuffle is undoubtedly Jeremy Hunt going to Health. This is not without its risks..appointing Hunt is a red rag to those on the left who’ve been enraged both by the coalition’s NHS reforms and its proximity to the Murdochs.
13:15: Andrew Mitchell faces a significant challenge in trying to bring the Conservative party into line, says Isabel:
Andrew Mitchell’s appointment as chief whip is widely being seen as an attempt to bring the Conservative backbench to heel after the government was humiliated by a bigger-than-expected rebellion on House of Lords reform this summer. As he moves from the friendly world of international development to the dark arts of the whips’ office, Mitchell will be surveying the rebellious rump of the Conservative party that he will need to bring to heel. Here are the lists of the rebels on Europe, Lords reform, and those who have rebelled on both major votes, as well as others:
13:00: The Tories’ prince across the water Boris Johnson is not happy about the sacking of Justine Greening. He told Sky News that it signalled the government was intent on a ‘simply mad’ new runway at Heathrow. He vowed to fight any such expansion ‘all the way’. Prepare the popcorn.
12:58: Sky News is reporting David Laws to be appointed Education Minister.
12:50: Isabel praises the media skills of new party chairman Grant Shapps:
Grant Shapps has been linked with the party chairman job for almost as long as he has been housing minister. So it was no surprise that he was promoted to this role. It would be nice to see his old portfolio also being promoted back into the Cabinet as it was under Labour, particularly given the focus on housing for kickstarting growth.
But picking Shapps as party chair shows that David Cameron is more worried about how his party’s grassroots are feeling than about the Conservatives’ wider appeal to women and ethnic minorities. The steady erosion of party membership will cause him great concern.
Shapps is also an energetic performer in the media. He’ll always take up the invitation of appearing on Newsnight when all his colleagues are dozing in bed, and frequently took one for the team as housing minister by appearing on the airwaves to defend unpopular policies managed by colleagues that had nothing to do with his brief.
12:35: Fraser analyses the choice of Justine Greening as the new International Development Secretary:
Will Justine Greening change Britain’s controversial overseas aid policy? She is leaving one department, Transport, panicked by how to implement the cuts and will now settle into a new one, DFID, where the panic is how they can possibly spend all the money being forced into them. Under Mitchell, the mission was to spend, spend, spend and there’s still talk of passing a law that would make it illegal for DFID to spend less than £30 million a day.
It could well be that Greening is appalled by this pre-crash approach to international development, and thinks that it’s best to freeze (or ‘lock in,’ if you prefer) the DFID budget and make sure it’s spent more wisely. The stories you hear in Whitehall, about the lengths to which DFID go in order to find a country to bury £20 million or so, are quite striking. I’ve always thought that this rush to spend would end in unwise decisions that could rebound on the government.
12:16: The most predicted news of this reshuffle — Grant Shapps is the new chairman of the Conservative Party. A big step up from Housing Minister, he will attend Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio. Looks like David Cameron went for youth over the experience of Michael Fallon after all.
12:08: Confirmed: Tory Welsh MP David Jones is Wales Secretary. Still no word from the Liberal Democrats.
12:05: Confirmed: the ex-Disabilities Minister Maria Millar is replacing Jeremy Hunt as the new Culture Secretary as well as becoming Minister for Women and Equalities.
12:00: And at mid-day they are coming thick and firstly. Firstly, Justine Greening is heading to DFID as International Development Secretary. Certainly a demotion from Transport.
11:55: James confirms that Baroness Warsi has been sacked as party chairman:
Sayeeda Warsi is not happy about being removed as party co-chairman. But she will still attend Cabinet as senior minister of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth office and minister for faith and communities.
11:45: Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, has some familiarity with his new role. It’s worth noting he was a Department for Transport minister 1989 – 1992 and his Derbyshire seat is far away from Heathrow. You can already see the diggers moving in for that third run way.
11:35: Sky News is reporting that as expected, Patrick McLoughlin has replaced Justine Greening as Transport Secretary. No word yet on where Greening might be heading — she has been in No.10 over an hour.
11:33: Confirmed: the ex-Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson is the new Environment Secretary:
Paterson back to the mainland with move to DEFRA, remember his paper on leaving Common Fisheries Policy and that he’s v sound on hunting
— James Forsyth (@JGForsyth) September 4, 2012
11:30: Two rumours are doing the rounds at preset: Owen Paterson will be going to DEFRA and David Laws will replace Sarah Teather at Education. As ever, take with a pinch of salt until we hear more.
11:16: Isabel writes in with a rather short statement from No.10 on Sir George Young:
‘The Prime Minister has paid tribute to Sir George Young, who steps down as Leader of the House of Commons.’
11:07: Fraser gives us his view on Chris Grayling’s move to Justice :
Grayling’s departure weakens the government’s crucial welfare reform agenda. Grayling knows the detail and has the stomach for the toughest mission in politics. I can understand his ambition and am sure he will do well as Justice Secretary. But I don’t think he will do as much good as he was doing on the Work Programme, second to schools as the government’s most important mission. I hugely admire him, for reasons that Matt D’Ancona outlined in a brilliant column on Sunday. He deseves a Cabinet job. But I would be quite happy to see the governments best talent concentrated in education and welfare, the two areas where the government is at its most radical and stands to do the most good.
He questions whether David Laws is right to go to Education:
He has been a powerful advocate of school reform, and given some truth serum he may admit he would like to see academies running on a commercial (ie, profit making) basis the better to capitalise on the pupil premium policy that laws advocated in opposition. So his appointment could, in theory, fit rocket boosters to the government’s most radical agenda. The risk is that the Lib Dems have adopted a sectarian agenda and now judge themselves on their ability to thwart Tory plans and implement their own. If Laws felt under pressure to score points, then it could introduce internal warfare to a department that has all too many external battles to fight.
11:04: Confirmed: Jeremy Hunt is the new Health Secretary. He’s certainly gone from zero to hero, but a poisoned chalice if there ever was one. He has just told Sky News:
‘It’s a huge task, the greatest privilege of my life’
11:00: James examines the choice of Chris Grayling as the new Justice Secretary:
It is easy to see why the idea of Chris Grayling at Justice so appeals to Numbers 10 and 11. Grayling is a right-winger who has good realtins with the Conservative-leaning press. He’ll be able to get a far better hearing for the coalition’s penal policy than Ken Clarke was. But he’s also a reformer, keen to bring the payment by results scheme he has pushed at DWP to Justice.
10:55: Justine Greening is now inside No.10. The move of Theresa Villiers to Northern Ireland suggests we might be quickly heading for a u-turn on Heathrow. Zac Goldsmith certainly thinks so:
As Justine Greening goes into Number 10, hundreds of thousands of londoners will be holding their breath.
— Zac Goldsmith (@ZacGoldsmith) September 4, 2012
10:52: Isabel has spoken to a Tory who isn’t too happy with the reshuffling at the Whips’ office:
One Tory backbench rebel is unimpressed with the decision to shake up the Whips’ office. He tells me: ‘They can change personnel but the problem is at the top.’ I argued recently that the root cause of the growing number of MPs prepared to rebel against their government is the way Cameron leads his party. If he continues to send out mixed messages on key policy areas as he did on Lords reform, then he’ll find that even the most brutal of whips will struggle to contain a revolt.
Remember that the whipping operation around the backbench vote on an EU referendum was very aggressive, with threats about mistresses and other skeletons being waved at recalcitrant Tories. But 81 still trooped through the wrong lobby. Since then, resentment has grown on the backbenches about the way Cameron is leading the party, and there are a number of potential flashpoints on the horizon. If Lib Dem ministers are allowed to vote against the government on the boundary reforms, for instance, some Conservative MPs will explode with fury.
10:46: The Prime Minister has announced on Twitter, that Chris Grayling is the new Justice Secretary. Reshuffle 2.0.
10:44: Moving Andrew Lansley to Leader of the House means that the incumbent Sir George Young will be heading to the backbenchers. Denis McShane offers his thoughts on the move:
Sir G Young told me y’day he was out. He had friends everywhere and made him vy effective House leader. Can’t work out if Lansley can do it
— Denis MacShane (@DenisMacShane) September 4, 2012
10:38: Isabel files her thoughts on moving Andrew Lansley away from Health:
Moving Andrew Lansley to the leader of the house sends a strange signal out about the government’s health reforms. The Prime Minister threw his lot in with the Health Secretary when he chose to push ahead with the Health and Social Care Bill. He then stuck by him by pausing rather than dropping the deeply unpopular legislation. And now that the Bill is an Act, he has dropped Lansley down to an administrative role where, presumably, he can’t cause any trouble. It obviously shows the Prime Minister was unimpressed by Lansley’s very poor communication skills, but there’s also an inference – which Labour will play up as much as possible – that the legislation was a flop, too.
The trouble is also that Lansley is one of the few people in government who actually understands what his legislation is doing, and he’s leaving just as the Act is being implemented in the Health Service. It’s unlikely that a Lib Dem will move to this job, either. The first question that any reporter would delight in asking them would be ‘do you have confidence in the Health and Social Care Act’. Their party would expect them to say ‘no’, but they would be the minister charged with implementing it.
10:33: Clearing the path for a third runway at Heathrow, Theresa Villiers is confirmed as the new Northern Ireland Secretary.
10:27: Confirmed: Andrew Lansley has been sacked as Health Secretary and is moving to become Leader of the House of Commons. Fraser is not sure of the move:
Why move Andrew Lansley from health now? A good decision, but four years too late.
— Fraser Nelson (@frasernelson) September 4, 2012
10:25: Chris Grayling has just entered Downing Street. As Adam Boulton has just said on Sky, this probably a nice bit of choreography to show off those moving upwards. Isabel reports that Theresa Villiers also arrived with a huge beam on her face.
10:09: James has more exclusive details on why IDS was offered Justice and how he turned it down:
I understand that there were three reasons for the proposed shift. The first was articulated by Danny Finkelstein on Newsnight last night, IDS is a visionary and welfare reform — and the universal credit in particular — is now moving into the implementation phase. It was thought that Chris Grayling, a former management consultant, would be better suited to that task. The second reason was identified by James Chapman in the Mail over the summer, IDS is one of the few people who could sell a penal policy that prioritised rehabilitation to the Tory party and the Conservative-leaning press. Finally, it was thought that a new welfare secretary would be more prepared to make the additional cuts in welfare that George Osborne needs to limit the cuts required in other departmental budgets.
09:57: Conservative Home is tipping Chris Grayling to replace Ken over at Justice:
— ConservativeHome (@ConHome) September 4, 2012
09:50: Looks like Sky weren’t wrong earlier about IDS being offered the Justice brief:
Understand that IDS offered Justice and decided against taking it. More details on Coffee House shortly
— James Forsyth (@JGForsyth) September 4, 2012
More on this shortly.
09:47: Fraser looks at the state of play so far, including what the changing ministers will mean for various briefs:
Mehdi Hassan at HuffPo says Warsi has been offered a Foreign Office role. That may free up Jeremy Browne, one of the most promising Lib Dems. Greening’s departure from Transport makes a u-turn on a Heathrow third runway more likely. Grant Schapps has been lobbying for the Tory chairmanship for months, but Michael “Fireman” Fallon also in the running. So far, the moves do not indicate policy changes. Ken Clarke’s departure from Justice is hardly likely to stop the prison closures, which is driven by cuts in the Budget. Clarke was just the willing face of a Treasury-driven policy, but it’s encouraging that he’s been made into an Osborne adviser. Fiscally, Clarke is radical and the economy is easily the government’s no.1 problem. Osborne can do with all the help he can get.
09:40: Isabel believes it is the right decision to leave IDS and Gove where they are:
Iain Duncan Smith will stay in his post as Work and Pensions Secretary, and Michael Gove will remain as Education Secretary. This is sensible as both are spearheading popular reforms and know their briefs extremely well. Moving Duncan Smith to Justice, as had been rumoured, would have meant that someone without his detailed knowledge of the welfare brief would have been charged with the extremely complex task of implementing Universal Credit. It is vital that these reforms are a success, and keeping Duncan Smith in post is a recognition of that.
Duncan Smith is known for being stubborn, and he will have fought hard to remain in post. That fight may well have significantly changed David Cameron’s original draft for his Cabinet and lower ministerial ranks.
09:35: It’s now confirmed from several sources that both Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith will remain in their current roles:
Confirmed – IDS and Gove stay in their jobs. The PM’s “key reformers and he wants them to stay in place”, says No10 source.
— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) September 4, 2012
Sky Sources: Work & Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Education Secretary Michael Gove to remain in their roles “to get the job done”
— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNewsBreak) September 4, 2012
IDS and Gove keep jobs
— norman smith (@BBCNormanS) September 4, 2012
09:30: The Sky News news desk has released a flurry of announcements, suggesting that Jeremy Hunt and Justine Greening are expected to move Cabinet roles, Iain Duncan Smith has been offered Justice Secretary and Caroline Spelman leaves her post as Environment Secretary. But take with a pinch of salt as these are all unconfirmed.
09:25: Fresh from Radio 4′s today programme, Fraser believes that Andrew Mitchell is a good appointment:
He’s well regarded by Cameron and his deployment as chief whip says that Cameron regards restoring party discipline as the no1 aim of the reshuffle. If you were remaking House of Cards for 2013 you’d want him to star: there’s no one better to put a bit of stick about. His problem is that so many of the unpromoted Tory MPs are now (as one told me) “operating on the assumption that we will lose the next election” so there is nothing they want from Cameron
These Tory MPs dont feel morally obliged to support a coalition government, so it’s even tougher to control. A few of Mitchell’s old Tory MP foes told me: “He’ll walk around Westminster like the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and people are going to hate him.” It’s the chief whip’s job to put a bit of stick about, but Mitchell has changed both from his childhood days, where he was nicknamed “Thrasher”, and from his days as David Davis’ chief whip, where he was nicknamed “Thrasher”. He has grown more used to using his charm, which will be more effective with this crop of less biddable MPs.
09:20: Although ministers are today’s main focus, James reminds us not to forget the folks behind the scenes:
One thing Number 10 needs to be careful about today is not forgetting the PPSs of departing ministers. Leaving Tobias Ellwood hanging after Liam Fox’s resignation irritated backbenchers
09:18: Isabel writes in to say that No.10 are reminding us that there is a reshuffle happening today:
Downing Street has just confirmed that the Cabinet will not be meeting today because of the reshuffle.
09:15: Despite losing the Justice department, it looks like Ken will remain close to the action, as James reports:
I understand that Ken Clarke will continue to attend the occasional meetings of Cameron’s Tory inner Cabinet despite losing his department.
09:00: Sounds like the Prime Minister hasn’t had a good night’s sleep. Joe Murphy of the Evening Standard tweets:
I just caught David Cameron & Ed Llewellyn slipping into Commons. I asked how it was going & DC replied, testily, “Good morning”
— Joe Murphy (@JoeMurphyLondon) September 4, 2012
8:50: James examines the departures of Warsi and Clarke:
The party management aspect of the reshuffle continues this morning with the news that Sayeeda Warsi is moving from party chairman. Her very public pleas that she should be left in place because she helped the party with northern, working class and ethnic minority voters have fallen on deaf ears.
Warsi’s biggest problem was that she was not a good enough media performer. On bad days for the party, she too often had to be kept away from the broadcast studios. Expect the new chairman to be someone who Number 10 feels it can trust to douse down any fire.
We have also learned that Ken Clarke has agreed to leave Justice. He is going to the Cabinet Office to advise on the economy. Given the closeness of his relationship with George Osborne, this may well be more than the consolation prize it looks like.
08:33: Isabel reports from the front line:
In the past 10 minutes, Michael Fallon has walked into Number 10.
Fallon is currently deputy chairman of the Conservative Party and is a rumoured candidate for the chairmanship.
08:30: Welcome to Coffee House’s live blog for David Cameron’s first cabinet reshuffle. We’ll be bringing you the latest developments in who has made the cut and who has returned to the backbenches in today’s reshuffle.
James Forsyth, Isabel Hardman, Fraser Nelson and Sebastian Payne will be filing throughout the day but this is what we we know so far:
Andrew Mitchell has been confirmed as the new chief whip, as James reported last night
Ken Clarke will become a minister without portfolio, as Tom Newton Dunn, political editor of the Sun, has reported:
Confirmed – Ken Clarke stripped of MoJ but will stay in Cabinet as Min without Portfolio. New role for him being created, prob on economy.
— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) September 4, 2012
Sayeeda Warsi has left the position of Conservative co-chair, as reported by the tweet below. It is rumoured that she will be replaced by Grant Shapps.
— Tory Chairman (@ToryChairman) September 4, 2012
Andrew Lansley is tipped for a move from the Health Secretary role. The Daily Mail had an inside splash on his potential departure today.