It is not just ministers who are being moved around today: the Downing Street operation is also changing around. Though the people involved in these moves are less well-known than Cabinet ministers, in modern-day government — with its centralization of power in Number 10 — they are almost as important and in some cases more so.
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 most able 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.
Dowden’s political role will be taken by Adam Atashzai, who cut his teeth working on the Treasury brief in CCHQ and is well regarded by George Osborne. This is further proof that the Chancellor’s influence on — and interest in — the Number 10 political machine is as strong as ever.
Ed Llewellyn and Kate Fall remain in their posts. I understand that Fall has been tasked with keeping a close eye on party and ministerial management.Tags: Autumn reshuffle 2012, Downing Street, UK politics